Firestarter, barely a flicker to start, burns out quickly - The A.V. Club
May 13, 2022 1 min, 41 secs
What it most certainly is not, to be clear, is a film that captures even a little of King’s novel.

Firestarter starts off strong, with Andy McGee (Zac Efron) dreaming of his infant child bursting into flames.

The story picks up with 11-year-old Charlie McGee (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) struggling to keep a lid on her pyrokinetic powers.

While Charlie’s mother, Vicky, has mostly given up on using her telekinetic powers, Andy uses his telepathy as an off-books, cash-only, self-help guru for clients with addiction.

But there’s tension between Andy and Vicky in terms of how to raise Charlie.

Andy, meanwhile, thinks she needs to suppress, citing how his own use of powers has begun causing brain hemorrhaging—in the form of blood leaking out of his eyes.

Andy, refusing to call 911, bandages his wife’s severe burns, and upon Vicky’s insistence, takes Charlie out for ice cream to cool her down, as one does.

This is the kernel of an interesting idea, a shift in the devoted adoration Charlie has for her father in the novel and ’84 film.

Andy is made to offer platitudes about not hurting things and people, and the cost of using such powers, but there’s little sense of a bond between the two.

Rainbird kills Vicky, and Andy and Charlie have so little reaction to her death that it feels almost comical.

Rainbird is one of King’s most horrifying villains, and his obsession with Charlie in the novel feels both religious and pedophilic; there’s just a perversive sense of unease he creates.

But like so many things in this movie, that door remains closed, and Rainbird feels more like a plot device than a character.

The film simply burns out, despite only ever being a flicker, with a sequel-bait ending that feels like a miscalculation in every sense

The rest feels like a waste of a talented cast and crew that somehow, against all odds, makes the 1984 film seem like a staggering achievement in the realm of King adaptations


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