Title – Firestarter (2022)
Director – Keith Thomas (The Vigil)
Cast – Zac Efron, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Kurtwood Smith, Gloria Reuben
Plot – Andy McGee (Efron) and his young daughter Charlie (Armstrong) end up on the run from a government organisation as the group hunts them down in hopes of understanding Charlie’s unique set of powers.
“I’m not special. I’m a monster!”
Review by Eddie on 11/07/2022
Of all the Stephen King stories and films to be re-imagined for a modern day entry, the author’s 1980 novel and 1984 film Firestarter isn’t exactly one that fans were clambering too see but that didn’t stop horror factory Blumhouse pushing forward with another low-budget entry into their ever growing catalogue of genre entries, that are starting to find themselves gathering in the lower end of the spectrum in bigger numbers than ever before.
Teaming up with The Vigil breakout director Keith Thomas and enlisting some star power in the form of Zac Efron as concerned father Andy McGee, whose young daughter Charlie is not someone you want to see heating up, Blumhouse faced an uphill battle making King’s tale of scientific experiments and family drama work and with a lack of scares or memorable set pieces, Thomas’s remake is about as generic genre fodder as you’re likely to see.
Not offensively bad but undeniably bland in its ambitions and delivery, this 2022 version of Firestarter never tries to do anything you wouldn’t expect from such a feature and the inventiveness Thomas showed signs of in his Jewish themed horror debut is never on show here as he walks through his directional duties of the McGee’s plight to escape government suits capturing them to use as lab rats in a fashion that leaves little hope for any of the elements of the film to stand out in a generic studio offering.
With the ceiling on the films potential capped low early on, Firestarter’s main cast were given an unenviable position to try and inject extra energy into a predictable and unsurprising narrative with poor old Zac Efron once more trying his best in a film that was beyond saving and after efforts in forgettable films such as Gold, The Beach Bum and Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, Efron’s leading man/supporting credentials are starting too look wafer thin.
If you were to pick out little wins for a film as pedestrian as Firestarter is they come here in the form of a promising performance from young Ryan Kiera Armstrong as Charlie, with the child performer walking away from this feature with her head held high while the films score from John Carpenter and company throws us straight back into the 80’s with the horror icon having a blast behind the scenes creating a moody and unique soundscape for Firestarter’s procedural to take place around.
Final Say –
About as bland and inoffensive as you’re likely to get from a remake, Firestarter does little in the way of showing us why we should care as it goes about its predictable business in a fashion that makes one wonder what the point of the whole exercise was?
2 red haired bullies out of 5
I’m not surprised—-quite honestly , the original
Version was nothing special. For that matter, IMHO, most of Stephen King’s tales just don’t
translate well to the screen. With a few exceptions (“Salem’s Lot” & the original “Carrie”)
the best movies based on Stephen King’s tales
are the ones NOT based on horror stories (“Stand
By Me” “The Green Mile” & “Shawshank Redemption” for example). And while I enjoyed
“Christine” an a fun piece of ‘80s nostalgia,, it’s
not scary. And at the risk of angering numerous
People here—-NO! “The Shining” IS NOT scary!
It’s an overrated disappointment . Just my two cents.
There’s certainly some top tier King adaptations out there but there’s also a lot of really terrible ones ha.
This one isn’t the worst out there but there was zero need for it to exist.
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