Firestarter (R) 2022 94m

It’s only been 40 years or so since the world was introduced to Drew Barrymore as a child actress (E.T.). At age 11, she became a household name when she took the lead role in the 1984 Stephen King horror/thriller Firestarter about a young child born with the mind-abilities to start fires.

Fourty years later Universal Pictures is offering up a second helping with a fresh cast with this remake from the Stephen King novel of the same name. The first one ran right under two hours. This remake clocks in twenty minutes shorter and relays the message on the same path as the original but with modern day special effects.

Ryan Kiera Armstrong as Charlie in Firestarter (Universal Pictures)

In this latest thriller from the Blumhouse boys (The Invisible Man) it tells the same story with some twists and turns you would expect from a remake about a twelve-year old girl Charlie born to parents Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon). She was born with the ability to start fires with her mind and not to be affected by her power. Her parents possess some of the skills as well but with included side-effects.

A government agency wants to capture her for their experimental lab rat but her pyrokinesis has a say-so in the matter. It all started when Andy was captured by the secret agency called The Shop was drugged, developed psychic powers, married and had Charlie who was born with a power not to be reckoned with. Second verse same as the first. You get on her wrong side she’ll burn you and the car you’re in. The screenplay was written by Scott Teems (Halloween Kills 2021) and Keith Thomas sat in the director’s chair for for this upgraded horror/thriller.

It was different seeing Efron playing a father as it almost matures him from his High School Musical days but it was actually Sydney Lemmon who carried the weight with her emotional performance and I look forward to more from her. Ryan’s potential especially with her crying and screaming is on her way as a future actress and with more work comes more experience. Kurtwood Smith, Gloria Reubon, Michael Greyeyes as Rainbird also star. It’s a small but well-known cast. John Carpenter provided us with the music and was set to direct the original but was turned down due to his 1982 The Thing flopping at the box office.

Special effects were accomplished with the heat we can feel and see in the air especially with the steam. King is a wonderful horror teller and this telling was saved by the shorter running time compared with the first as fore mentioned. This film opens Friday May 13 in theaters and streaming. How hot is that? This Blumhouse film is compliments of Universal Pictures. 3 stars.

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