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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
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Release Date: December 19th, 2023 Movie Release Year: 1983

The Dead Zone - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

One of the best Stephen King adaptations, David Cronenberg’s The Dead Zone starring Christopher Walken awakens with the supernatural powers of 4K UHD with Dolby Vision. The film is just as unnerving and tragic as ever, and perhaps even more prescient than ever. Scream Factory takes their already excellent Special Edition and gives it a fitting full 4K upgrade with excellent audio options and tons of excellent bonus features including a new audio commentary. Highly Recommended.


School teacher Johnny Smith (Chistopher Walken) had a beautiful fiancée, a rewarding career and a fortunate life ... until one tragic accident changed everything. After slamming into an 18-wheeler, Johnny is plunged into a five-year coma. When he awakens, he finds his true collision was with destiny – he now has the remarkable gift (or curse) of seeing into the future. From horror master Stephen King and director David Cronenberg (Scanners, Dead Ringers), this supernatural thriller turns an everyday guy into a reluctant hero ... saving children in danger, helping the police and finding a serial killer. But Johnny's next vision may be his most terrifying yet ...



  • NEW 2023 Transfer From The Original Camera Negative
  • In Dolby Vision (HDR-10 Compatible)
  • Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Filmmaker Mike Flanagan And Eric Vespe And Scott Wampler Of The Kingcast
  • Audio Commentary With Director Of Photography Mark Irwin
  • Audio Commentary With Film Historian Michael Gingold
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian/Author Dr. Steve Haberman And Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr
  • Audio Commentary With Film Music Historian Daniel Schweiger With Isolated Score Selections


  • NEW 2023 Transfer From The Original Camera Negative
  • Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, 2.0
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Filmmaker Mike Flanagan And Eric Vespe And Scott Wampler Of The Kingcast
  • Audio Commentary With Director Of Photography Mark Irwin
  • Audio Commentary With Film Historian Michael Gingold
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historian/Author Dr. Steve Haberman And Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr
  • Audio Commentary With Film Music Historian Daniel Schweiger With Isolated Score Selections
  • “Sarah's Story” – An Interview With Actress Brooke Adams
  • “Cold Visions: Producing The Dead Zone” – Featuring Interviews With Production Manager John M. Eckert And Associate Producer Jeffrey Chernov
  • Trailers From Hell - Mick Garris On The Dead Zone
  • “Memories From The Dead Zone
  • “The Look Of The Dead Zone
  • “Visions Of The Dead Zone
  • “The Politics Of The Dead Zone
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Behind-The-Scenes Still Gallery

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
Dolby Vision HDR / HDR10
Aspect Ratio(s):
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 5.1/2.0
English SDH
Release Date:
December 19th, 2023

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


From our previous The Dead Zone Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review

Johnny Smith (Christopher Walken) was just an average guy. He had a good job as a school teacher where he working alongside his girlfriend Sarah (Brooke Adams). After an idealic date - Johnny gets into a terrible car accident. Five years later he awakens from a coma and the world has moved on without him. Only Johhny didn’t wake up the same man. When he touches someone, he can see their past or their terrible future. This gift is a curse until he shakes the hand of a campaigning zealot senator (Martin Sheen), and Johnny becomes the only man who can avert a possible future global catastrophe. 

Stephen King’s novels often try to normalize and humanize the supernatural. Take an impossible ability or event and cast it around normal everyday characters. A group of normal average kids dealing with a murderous sewer-dwelling demon. A doctor with a tainted graveyard in his backyard. A guard with a gigantic prisoner with the incredible power to heal any wound. These are supernatural - often horrifying - scenarios applied to average individuals. And in The Dead Zone, Johnny Smith is relatably average making his new abilities a curse more than a blessing.

The Dead Zone was one of the first Stephen King movies I ever saw. I was a little kid, it was on television one night, and even heavily edited it still freaked me out. When I was finally old enough to read his books, The Dead Zone was one of the first I picked up. I loved it, but I thought the movie was better. Stephen King loves to go on tangents with his novels. Sometimes it works and helps flesh out characters or the plot in interesting ways. However, The Dead Zone has many tangents and not all of them come back to center often undercutting important developments. King punts the ball with a lot of characters giving away a lot of the game before they’re actually supposed to be surprises. We know who our villain is going to be deflating the impact of the hero's important discovery. The film amends that and other issues with the novel crafting a more fulfilling story arc for all characters involved. 

This is where adaptation can be such an important tool. For the film, director David Cronenberg and screenwriter Jeffrey Boam cut a lot of the fat and trimmed the story down to the bare essentials. Things that should have been a surprise in the novel play out with a better shock value in the film. Our primary “villain” is always present on the perimeter of the story until it becomes necessary for him to get in close. How certain character's relationships resolve themselves has a more natural flow and conclusion.

While not a traditional body horror show, this film absolutely falls within Cronenberg’s wheelhouse. It’s light of viscera and gore, but it focuses on the terror of not being able to control your own body. Anything or anyone you touch could trigger a psychic episode. Like cancer, it grows and does what it wants. Johnny can't decide when he's going to use his powers, his body decides that for him.

In addition to Cronenberg’s lean and to-the-point filmmaking style, the film benefits from a terrific cast. Christopher Walken is the perfect Johnny Smith. He can communicate so much range you believe the simultaneous range of anger and fear. When he meets people he gives the smallest moment of hesitation before touching them. While not a very large role, Herbert Lom is splendid as the calm and steadfast Dr. Weizak. Likewise for Tom Skerritt’s brief but memorable turn as Sheriff Bannerman. Brooke Adams also doesn’t get a whole lot to do but she shines with the time she’s given. And then we have Martin Sheen damn near steals the show as Stillson.

Books and movies are not at all the same artform. Even screenwriting is its own beast. To make one piece of art work in a different medium, you often have to make some big changes. The Dead Zone is no different. Changes were made from the novel - but they were smart and made the story work better. I love Cronenberg’s steady direction. I love Walken’s performance bringing all of the rage, fear, and sadness of the character to life. I love Michael Kamen’s moody and atmospheric score. Everything works in this film and of the many Stephen King movies out there, The Dead Zone is among the best. 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The Dead Zone gets a new lease on life thanks to Scream Factory’s new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release. A two-disc set, the 4K rides on a BD-100 disc ensuring a very healthy bitrate while the new 1080p transfer rolls with a BD-50 carrying the bulk of the bonus features with it. Both discs are housed in a standard black two-disc case with identical slipcover depicting the classic poster artwork. Both discs load to a static image main menu with standard navigation options.

Video Review


In the course of three years, we’ve seen three new disc releases of The Dead Zone and it just keeps getting better than the last. In 2020 there was the terrible transfer featured in the Stephen King: 5-Movie Collection. Things got better in 2021 when Scream Factory offered up their own Special Edition release sourced from a new 4K restoration. Now in 2023, Scream Factory ups the scale with a new 4K UHD Blu-ray and 1080p Blu-ray sourced from an even more recent scan. The results are another appreciable step up in clarity while letting HDR beautifully maneuver the dourish color scheme, deep inky blacks, and often stunningly brilliant whites. The film always had a wintery dreamlike quality to it and that hasn’t been changed or altered. A perfect winter horror film, the deep grays, blacks, and bright whites dominate the screen allowing the use of primaries - especially reds - to be all the more shocking. That scene with Walken and Skerritt walking through the tunnel at night is a terrific example of this film’s visual aesthetic upgraded for 4K. The previous 4K already looked great, but in 2160p fine facial features and textures come through clearer while the grain texture is even more refined and less intrusive. We’ve come a damn long way for this one in just a couple of short years. It wasn’t my plan to pick up another copy of this film so soon, but I’m glad to have it! it's not the flashiest 4K release ever but it's a welcome upgrade all the same. 

Audio Review


Replaying the various discs in my collection, I didn't hear much of a difference between the DTS-HD MA 5.1 tracks from the Stephen King 5-Film Collection, Scream Factory's first Blu-ray, and this new 4K disc. To that end, I'm letting my previous scores and comments stand. 

In the audio department, we get two tracks for this Scream Factory release. First up we have the same very good DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that came with the previous disc from Paramount. This mix still holds up nicely and gives you an atmospheric surround presence. We also get an excellent - and I’d say better - DTS-HD MA 2.0 mix. Flipping between the tracks, I liked how much more natural feeling the 2.0 mix was over the 5.1. Comparing the two, the 5.1 mix can sound a little thin in the front moving some effects to the sides and away from the central action. The 2.0 mix keeps everything Front/Center and as a result, feels like it has more impact in the soundscape. Both tracks are good, but I’m giving the 2.0 track the edge. Both handle dialog perfectly while allowing Kamen’s score to set the tone. Levels for both are on point without issue. 

DTS-HD MA 5.1 - 4/5
DTS-HD MA 2.0 - 4.25/5

Special Features


This film already had a terrific set of extra features with the previous Collector’s Edition Blu-ray - and Scream Factory adds a little more to the pole. In addition to all of the previous new and archival extras, they added an excellent new Audio Commentary with Mike Flanagan and the crew of The Kingcast Eric Vespe and Scott Wampler. It’s a very lively fun commentary with the trio knocking out some great points about the film. Flanagan is much more dialed in as a director noticing very smart visual storytelling techniques while Wampler and Vespe dig deep on trivia and where the film fell in the catalog of King books on film as well as Cronenberg offerings. 

4K UHD Disc:

  • NEW Audio Commentary featuring Mike Flanagan with Eric Vespe and Scott Wampler of The Kingcast
  • Audio Commentary featuring director fo photography Mark Irwin
  • Audio Commentary featuring Steve Haberman and Constantine Nasr
  • Audio Commentary featuring Michael Gingold
  • Isolated Score with an introduction by Daniel Schweiger

Blu-ray Disc:

  • NEW Audio Commentary featuring Mike Flanagan with Eric Vespe and Scott Wampler of The Kingcast
  • Audio Commentary featuring director fo photography Mark Irwin
  • Audio Commentary featuring Steve Haberman and Constantine Nasr
  • Audio Commentary featuring Michael Gingold
  • Isolated Score with an introduction by Daniel Schweiger
  • Sara’s Story - Interview with Brooke Adams (HD 10:37)
  • Producing The Dead Zone (HD 20:32)
  • Trailers From Hell  The Dead Zone with Mick Garris (HD 2:11)
  • Memories From The Dead Zone (SD 12:19)
  • The Look of The Dead Zone (SD 9:25)
  • Visions From The Dead Zone (SD 9:44)
  • The Politics of The Dead Zone (SD 11:34)
  • Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Behind-The-Scenes Gallery

I didn’t expect to see another edition of The Dead Zone to come out so quickly, but since each release just gets better and better - I’ll gladly take it. One of my very favorite, if not a contender for the favorite Stephen King adaptations, David Cronenberg’s haunting film has never looked better. The new Dolby Vision transfer just adds more nuance and clarity without altering the visual appeal of the film. Audio is again right on point as Scream Factory adds to the pile of excellent bonus features with a very good new audio commentary King fans won’t want to miss. The only reason this one isn't a Must Own is simply because we just got a really great Blu-ray release just a couple years ago. Another upgrade might be a difficult sell to some out there so I'm calling it - Highly Recommended… again!  

Order Your Copy of The Dead Zone on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray