Zac Efron in ‘Firestarter’: Movie Evaluation

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There have been so many mediocre movies primarily based on Stephen King novels {that a} new rule of thumb must be established: Should you’re going to do a remake of 1, it ought to be necessary that or not it’s higher than the unique.

The brand new model of Firestarter qualifies, however simply barely. We’re spared the inherent campiness of Drew Barrymore, then not that far faraway from E.T., as Charlie, the little woman with pyrokinetic powers. There’s no shot of the central character together with her hair lifted alarmingly above her head, as if she have been showing within the worst-ever shampoo business. And the lethal murderer Rainbird is definitely performed by a Native American actor, Michael Greyeyes (Wild Indian, Rutherford Falls), moderately than George C. Scott, whose presence didn’t precisely scream Indigenous.

Firestarter

The Backside Line

A moist squib.

Launch date: Friday, Could 13

Cast: Zac Efron, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Kurtwood Smith, John Beasley, Michael Greyeyes, Gloria Reuben

Director: Keith Thomas

Screenwriter: Scott Teems


Rated R,
1 hour 34 minutes

In any other case, this remake, concurrently showing in theaters and streaming on Peacock, primarily looks like an honest cable tv film, albeit one with sufficient violence and profanity to earn an R score. Or moderately, it feels just like the pilot of a streaming sequence, which appears inevitable within the unending thirst for IP content material.

Proficient baby actor Ryan Kiera Armstrong is not any stranger to Stephen King, having appeared in It: Chapter Two, or to horror normally, because of her recurring function in a season of American Horror Story. She’s convincingly each weak and scary because the 11-year-old with incendiary skills, the results of being born to folks with psychic powers of their very own because of being the themes of drug experiments once they have been naïve school college students.

Now Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) reside off the grid, hiding from the mysterious authorities company that desires to make use of Charlie’s powers for nefarious ends. Andy works as a “life coach” who makes use of his skills for such functions as curing a younger girl of her smoking behavior. Such strenuous efforts don’t come and not using a value, as each time he makes use of them his eyes begin to bleed, like an ocular stigmata.

However in Stephen King tales, the previous has a means of catching up with you. After Charlie’s powers develop into observed, a dastardly authorities operative (Gloria Reuben) dispatches Rainbird to search out the household and take possession of Charlie. When his first try doesn’t succeed, father and daughter take it on the lam, briefly discovering refuge with an aged farmer (veteran actor John Beasley, terrific) earlier than finally winding up within the company’s clutches. Evidently, all of it leads to a particularly fiery climax.

It’s a bit miserable that director Keith Thomas, who wrote and directed one of many extra audacious and unique horror movies in recent times, 2019’s The Vigil, has gravitated to the mainstream with this competent however uninspired effort. The identical goes for the rote screenplay by Scott Teems (Halloween Kills), which supplies not one of the darkish wit that may have enlivened the outrageous storyline. That is the type of materials that cries out for the baroque stylizations of Brian De Palma, whose business breakout got here with the not dissimilarly themed Carrie.

To their credit score, the actors give it their all, with Greyeyes compelling because the steely Rainbird and Efron affecting as the daddy desperately attempting to guard his daughter and train her the way to management her powers. (Sure, Efron has aged into dad roles however not, as a shirtless opening scene demonstrates, a dad bod.) The movie can also be admirably fast-paced, operating twenty minutes shorter than the bloated 1984 unique.

However whereas it has just a few real scares (cat lovers will need to avert their eyes for one horrific scene), it by no means achieves the deliriously freaky heights one expects from a movie model of one in every of King’s cheesier novels. It’s a lesson that Blumhouse, which is planning a remake of one other lesser King adaptation, Christine, ought to take to coronary heart.

Talking of Christine, the 1983 movie model was directed by John Carpenter, who was slated to direct the unique Firestarter till Common obtained chilly toes after the disappointing box-office of The Factor. In a properly poetic contact, Carpenter, alongside together with his musical collaborators Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies, has offered a terrifically spooky digital music rating for this effort — maybe its most distinguished factor.

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Genre: Reviews

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