It seems like Hollywood is determined to remake all of Stephen King’s films after the success of IT. Now we got a remake of the super human horror flick, “FIRESTARTER.”
The film is directed by Keith Thomas, from a screenplay by Scott Teems, based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. It is a reboot of the 1984 film adaptation of the same name. The film stars Zac Efron, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Sydney Lemmon, Kurtwood Smith, John Beasley, Michael Greyeyes, and Gloria Reuben. It is produced by Jason Blum and Akiva Goldsman under their Blumhouse Productions and Weed Road Pictures banners.
Andy McGee (Efron) must protect his young daughter Charlie after she develops pyrokinesis that forces them to go on the run. Both are hunted by a secret government agency known as “Lot Six” along with Native-American bounty hunter John Rainbird who will stop at nothing to capture Charlie and use her powers for sinister purposes.
The film honestly would have been better served as a streaming mini-series because the plot rushes along a break neck pace. It’s alluded to that Charlie’s parents have powers but only Andy appears to have somewhat of a handle on his. Lot Six is name dropped but besides telling us how evil of a corporation they are over and over again it’s not really explained what there plan is with Charlie. Rainbird is honestly the most interesting character in the film. He’s a sort of boogeyman that Lot Six relies on to track down and capture these super powered escapees. Like them, he and a few of his people were the first experiments of Lot Six with dangerous to deadly results. Rainbird was one of the lucky ones. However once again, the film touches on it but quickly runs right past it to the next scene. The story never has time to breathe and it just feels like it’s rushing to the end.
When Charlie starts using her powers she accidentally incinerates a bird and then a cat, both scenes are portrayed to pretty decent effect. When she finally fights Lot Six however it just feels kind of meh. The CGI is fine, the scale just feels small. In the original when Charlie (played then by a young Drew Barrymore) went on a rampage it felt like she really did some serious damage, in the remake not so much.
Speaking of Charlie, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, who plays Charlie this time around, really tries hard and puts her all into her performance. However, Efron and Lemmon both feel like they are just going through the motions here and come across completely flat.
The film does have a pretty bad ass synth score by John Carpenter that helps lift the film above its noticeable rough edges.
I didn’t hate the film like some reviewers did, there were moments in there that were pretty decent it just left a lot of plot threads unresolved. That and am I the only one who is still dying to see Firestarter crossover with Carrie? Make it happen Stephen King!
Overall, Firestarter isn’t a great film but it’s also not a complete suck fest either. It’s a slight recommend.
FIRESTARTER is now in theaters and streaming on Peacock.