Johnny Smith had everything going for him, a good job, a great girlfriend, and a good life. All that ends one night while driving home from his girlfriend, Sarah’s, house. He gets in a wreck with an eighteen wheeler and is put in a coma for five long years. When he wakes up, he discovers that he can see into the life of anyone he touches.
Johnny Smith and his girlfriend Sarah go on a date to a local carnival. Afterwards, Johnny is in a car accident which leaves him in a coma. When he wakes up, he discovers that it has been five years. His doctor, Sam Weizak is surprised that Johnny has woken up. When he touches Johnny, Johnny discovers that Sam’s mother is still alive. When a nurse touches Johnny, he is able to save her daughter from a burning house. With Johnny’s dead zone now awake, he discovers that if he can see the future, he might be able to change it, and all of this will come into play when he discovers a senator that will one day become president, and end the world.
I had just completed the book and while watching this film, I noticed there was so much left out that I couldn’t help but think of just how much better the book was. This film is considered one of Stephen King’s best adaptations, but my question is how can this be? Is it because it simply tells the story of John Smith in the same way the book does, with a few things changed but a lot left out? Acting wise, Christopher Walken does an amazing job as Johnny Smith, without him in this film it would not be as good as it was. Sadly, that is really the only thing this movie has going for it.
My biggest complaint about this movie was the fact that it left so much out of the book. The Wheel of Fortune which tells us that Johnny had some sort of precognitive ability before the accident shows that it wasn’t all the accident that awoken Johnny’s ability. Also, Cronenberg left out the childhood incident that Johnny had, which is one of the reasons that he survived the accident. The movie just starts by introducing Johnny and Sarah, two couple in love, and just jumps into the accident. Afterwards, instead of any build up about the November Killer, as he was referred to in the book, it goes straight into Johnny waking up and finding out that it is five years later. Also, Greg Stillson was introduced far too late in this film, he should have been introduced while Johnny was in the coma. Instead, the film plays out like the TV show, from one episode to the next. The book does a similar job of this, however it does give enough background story to tie everything together. Although it seems like I’m bashing this film, I did find it to be fairly decent, I just felt that there was a lot left out that should have been in there. Overall, check this film out, but read the book first. I give it a 6 out of 10.