Movie Review: Firestarter [2022]

May 18, 2022  •  Leave a Comment


Director: Keith Thomas
Writer: Scott Teems
Starring: Zac Efron, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Sydney Lemmon, Gloria Reuben, Michael Greyeyes

The best part of watching the new Firestarter movie is that it's been so long since I've seen the Drew Barrymore version, I didn't have to worry about making comparisons the entire way through. The worst part is that Zac Efron couldn't even save this movie. 

The story centres on the McGee family. Andy [Zac Efron] wakes up from a nightmare and finds his daughter Charlie in the kitchen playing with a lighter. After a bit of a chat about how Charlie feels different to normal, he gets up to make pancakes. Here the credits role and we see glimpses of Andy and Victoria being questioned for a medical study in all of its glitchy video glory. There's a quick glimpse of a patient dying and another has ripped out his eyes and sadly this is the most thrilling part of the entire movie. 

Back to modern day and Andy has a business helping people and has a client wanting to quit smoking. After a quick session with her, she leaves and he doubles over in pain with blood coming from his eyes. His ability is starting to kill him. Meanwhile Charlie is at school being bullied by the ginger kid. They're in science class and he's carrying on because she stabbed the dead frog in front of her. Why give kids dead animals if they don't have to do in-class autopsies anymore? Anyways, he's such a little dickweed I may have told her to "burn the ginger!". She didn't. Later while they're playing dodgeball the ginger strikes again and rather than turn him into crispy bacon she runs to the bathroom trying to stop herself hurting anyone. Her teacher follows finding the girls bathroom filled with steam from the running taps and Charlie in the end toilet cubicle with a slamming door that "explodes". That's the teachers word later after the fire department and police are called. Talk about dramatic. This stunt however has gotten the attention of DSI who ring Rainbird telling him she's reactivating him.

Andy and Victoria are butting heads over how to deal with Charlie's powers but after this incident at school he decides it's time to move but not before pissing off his kid into trying to set her mother on fire. Andy bandaged Victoria's arms up and him and Charlie go for ice cream. While they're out, Rainbird arrives (he really moves fast!) wanting to know where the girl is. By the time Andy and Charlie get home, Victoria is dead and now they're on the run.

Most of my excitement for seeing this film revolved around Zac Efron. I loved his work in Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (worst movie title ever. It's so long I can never remember it and always need to check Google) and hoped to see him get some more serious roles. Not that I don't like his other movies: Dirty Grandpa, Bad Neighbours, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates are all ridiculously funny, but youcan'tmakemewritethatmovietitleagain really showed he's more than some hot guy with chiseled abs. Can't really pinpoint why I feel letdown here but I don't think they got his full potential with this character.

As for the film, I don't mind the odd slow burn but this burns so slow it fizzles out. There's no build up and the ending itself is lacklustre. The glitchy opening credits was an interesting choice considering that scene would have been around the year 2012 so there's just no reason for anything from that era to look so bad, especially from some big deal scientific company. It's just a damn shame they didn't have that level of intensity throughout the rest of the movie. The SFX are pretty cool for what we do see and the makeup work looked gnarly. I think I'll watch the original now. 





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