Firestarter: Another Review


A couple desperately try to hide their daughter, Charlie, from a shadowy federal agency that wants to harness her unprecedented gift for turning fire into a weapon of mass destruction. Her father taught her how to defuse her power, but as Charlie turns 11, the fire becomes harder and harder to control. When a mysterious operative finally finds the family, he tries to seize Charlie once and for all — but she has other plans.

In recent years at least, Stephen King movie adaptations have been absolutely incredible. Whenever I watch a trailer that says “Based on the novel by Stephen King,” I immediately get excited and prepare myself for one of my best movies of the year. Back in the day though, you had to be quite wary when it came to films adapted from the iconic author’s works.

But not so much anymore. The 2017 film It and its sequel It Chapter Two were absolutely phenomenal, and Mike Flanagan‘s Doctor Sleep is one of my favorite films of all time. This is why I was actually quite eager to check out Keith Thomas‘ brand new film adaptation of King’s Firestarter.

The opening scene was good. The opening title sequence was awesome. And then… the rest… not so much. In fact, Firestarter is genuinely one of the worst mainstream horror movies I have seen in years. It features one of the most painfully boring horror scripts in ages and turns one of the most imaginative and crazy stories from King’s bibliography into one of the most horrifically bland.

This is a movie all about a young girl who has the power to literally burn anything. If she loses her temper and wants to burn somebody alive, she can. Naturally, because of how unhinged she is, of course the government in this universe wants to come and kidnap her to experiment on her while her parents obviously want to protect her.

The story isn’t anything new but I was waiting forever for something incredibly shocking to happen. There is a staggeringly low kill count for a movie called Firestarter and also, a shockingly low number of fire is actually shown on screen as well. This is without question one of the tamest mainstream horror films I’ve seen.

Scott Teems‘ script is beyond bland as well, which surprised me considering the fact that he wrote one of my favorite horror films of last year – Halloween Kills. Here, Teems struggles immensely to make this story modernized and it’s terrible. For the most part, the film is faithful to the book but it never comes close to capturing the same spine-tingling feelings that the book gives off.

Zac Efron is okay in the role of Andy McGee, but it is still quite jarring to think about the fact that Efron is now playing dad roles because an entire generation of kids grow up on High School Musical. Sadly, Efron really isn’t given a whole lot to do here except for worry, worry, and worry some more.

Ryan Kiera Armstrong makes for a strong Charlie for the most part, but I didn’t find her to be that intimidating to be honest. Her acting was good but I just didn’t buy her as this super

imposing threat like the book makes her out to be. She just looks like a little girl and acts like a little girl, so what’s so scary about that?

By the time Firestarter came to a close, I found myself not feeling emotionless, but legitimately angry. This could have been one of the most fun horror films of the summer but instead, Keith Thomas’ film is infuriatingly boring and is sure to make you exhale a sigh of relief when it’s over.

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.


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