Released in 1983, The Dead Zone was something of a departure for the Canadian filmmaker -- the first film he'd directed that he didn't also write. Based on a popular Stephen King novel, the feature gave Cronenberg an opportunity to focus solely on the behind the camera elements of the film. The results are very interesting.
The movie centers on John Smith (Christopher Walken!) a young English teacher who seemingly has the world by the tail until he's in a horrific car accident that leaves him in a coma for several years. When he awakens, he learns that he's lost everything -- his livelihood, the love of his life, years of irreplaceable time -- but gained something too. Johnny emerges from his coma with psychic powers and the rest of the film explores how these newfound extra-sensory abilities affect his life.
The Dead Zone isn't your typical Cronenberg or Stephen King film. It does bear some of the director's familiar themes and philosophical concerns, but they're understated and presented in a different manner than normal. As far as King adaptations go, this is one of the best -- probably only bettered by Kubrick's interpretation of The Shining.
I don't want to say much more about it for fear of ruining it for you and influencing the discussion. Check out The Dead Zone on Hulu or Netflix Watch Instantly, and come on back on Monday evening when we'll open up the discussion post and share our thoughts about this excellent and underrated film.