Firestarter (2022)

firestarter poster 2022 movie
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 5/10

Ryan Kiera Armstrong isn't a bad Charlie


Movie Info

Movie Name:  Firestarter

Studio:  Blumhouse Productions/Angry Adam Productions/Night Platform

Genre(s):  Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  May 12, 2022

MPAA Rating:  R

firestarter zac efron andy charlie ryan kiera armstrong

Charlie…I know you don’t want to hear this now, but all of your friends moms (and some of their dads) are going to be so jealous that I look just like Zac Efron

Andy McGee (Zac Efron) and his Vicky Tomlinson (Sydney Lemmon) meet during a college experiment to unlock the abilities of humans with a drug called Lot-6 and a government agency called DSI. When Andy and Vicky marry and go on the run with their young daughter Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), they realize that Charlie has inherited their abilities in new, frightening ways. DSI wants Charlie and will stop at nothing to get her…including hiring another experiment subject named John Rainbird (Michael Greyeyes) Charlie’s powers are getting powers and Rainbird and DSI are getting closing…an explosion will come and the world could burn.

Directed by Keith Thomas, Firestarter is a horror science-fiction movie. The film is based on the 1980 Stephen King novel and follows previous 1984 Drew Barrymore adaptation and 2002 TV miniseries Firestarter: Rekindled. The film was released in theaters and on the streaming service Peacock simultaneously. It received negative reviews.  It received Razzie nominations for Worst Actress (Armstrong) and Worst Remake/Rip-Off/Sequel, but the nomination for Armstrong was withdrawn.

firestarter 2022 burn victim

I just asked for a light…

The first Firestarter film isn’t great, but Drew Barrymore’s so-so performance and delivery is kind of iconic…but not good. This Firestarter brings slightly better performances and dialogue, but a really bad modernized adaptation. Due to aspects of the story, a ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

The story isn’t Stephen King’s strongest novel, but it also isn’t necessarily a horror novel as much as it is science-fiction with horror. In this version, the mother’s role is (pre-running) is expanded and the ending is completely altered. The basic idea is the same…the government goes after Charlie and her father and Charlie ends up burning it all down after he dies. This ending has Charlie leaving with the man responsible for killing her mother and walking off into the sunset…it is less than satisfying or realistic.

The acting is par for the script the actors were given. Zac Efron is rather flat as Charlie’s father who doesn’t trust her himself, but Ryan Kiera Armstrong’s Charlie is actually rather decent…she’s let down by a script and character that isn’t very good. The movie rectifies the problem of the 1984 version with a white actor George C. Scott playing a Native American, but Greyeyes’ character is rather pointless. The movie also underuses Kurtwood Smith and Gloria Reuben in small roles.

firestarter ending charlie ryan kiera armstrong

Can you douse this flame?

Firestarter is all about the telekinetic pyromania aspect of Charlie’s powers. There are some explosive moments, but it also felt like that the movie should have been bigger. With toned down special effects, the script needed to be tighter, and instead you get neither.

Firestarter was more of a bore than anything. The movie should have been a special effects feast and changes to the story should have enhanced it. The movie has a rather vague ending and Charlie’s future is less defined than in the story (which also didn’t make much sense, Charlie returns to the family that tried to help them…the first place people would look). The movie sets up potential sequels, but the film’s performance probably stops that.

Related Links:

Firestarter (1984)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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