Christopher Walken plays a schoolteacher, Johnny Smith, who awakens from a five-year coma. He discovers that he has acquired the ability to foretell a person's future simply by touching his or her hand.
After seeing several examples, Smith's doctor (Herbert Lom) becomes convinced that Smith can not only predict the future, but also has the power to change it. This ability is given its severest test when Smith shakes the hand of ruthless political candidate Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen) -- and suddenly has a flash-forward to a nuclear holocaust.
The Dead Zone is not only one of the best-ever Stephen King adaptations, but also one of the most consistently successful (and least gory) efforts of director David Cronenberg.