Blumhouse’s latest adaptation of Stephen King’s famous horror novel Firestarter, published in 1980, stars Zac “He Plays Dads Now” Efron and Ryan Kiera Armstrong premieres in both theaters and on Peacock on May 13th, 2022.
This new version of Stephen King’s 1980 novel is neither frightening nor exhilarating, nor is it especially poignant. Firestarter is inherently more wicked than other kid folk tales, which tend to gravitate toward family-friendly adventure,
But recreating this narrative without adding anything particularly new or adding a terrifying plot leaves it weak and feels completely unoriginal in the mutation environment, despite being one of the earliest stories of this kind.
Directed by Keith Thomas, the remake version of the film starred Zac Efron, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, and Sydney Lemmon in lead roles.
Ryan Kiera Armstrong plays Charlie, a social outcast in her school who is somewhat of an introvert. Her father has forbidden her from using a phone or the Internet, and she was advised to merely suppress her terrifying fire-starting abilities.
But as she turns eleven, the questions are piling up (hormones, too), there are creeps and bullies around, and the fire spreads up at inappropriate moments. Vicky, played by Sydney Lemmon (Jack Lemmon’s granddaughter), believes it would be preferable to educate the child on how to use the powers rather than abstain totally. However, she seems overridden, and soon Andy (Efron) and Charlie are on the run.
Charlie’s capabilities are even more dangerous than either her mother or father, as she possesses both of their gifts alongside the ability to incinerate. She can spray forth large swathes of flame or heat a location until someone catches fire.
Armstrong is excellent in the character, not just demonstrating deep emotion but also matching Charlie’s usage of abilities, wrath expression, and the CGI elements involved.
Efron notably plays Charlie’s father Andy, who has the ability to “push” people’s brains, causing them to submit to his will. Although Efron and Armstrong are convincing as a sign of affection, and the film’s best moments occur when they are together, the narrative itself is shallow and undeserving.
On the bad guy end, Michael Greyeyes, the evil guy, isn’t as short-sheeted as the others, but he still feels like a ghost of a presence rather than a whole figure. Greyeyes has a few significant showdown moments as Rainbird, however, eventually, the conclusion for his character makes little sense and adds yet more rambling, confusing features to this narrative.
However, one shift to the tale here seems to be that Vicky McGee, Charlie’s mother, gets more screen time (played by Sydney Lemmon). Instead of solely appearing in flashbacks, we see Vicky and Andy co-parenting, with Vicky advocating for Charlie to learn how to harness her gifts. This tiny adjustment was not the necessary refresher for the tale. but, it does provide one of the film’s finest confrontations when Rainbird arrives.
Despite strong performances from Zac Efron and Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Firestarter lacks a solid narrative and presentation. Over four decades have passed since Stephen King’s novel, so innovative concepts were required to revive this twisted narrative without it feeling undercooked – or even less engaging than other novels that have replicated it over the years. Even the carnage-filled ending, which should have been cathartic, is dull and boring.
Firestarter is 90 minutes of waiting for the water to boil, but it never gets lukewarm and boring.