Ryan Kiera Armstrong as Charlie in Firestarter, directed by Keith Thomas.

Film Review – Firestarter (2022)

After a great opening credits sequence backed by an intensely rich synth based score the newest incarnation of exciting Stephen King novel Firestarter, immediately goes into the unnecessary remake basket.

The 1984 original was a solid thriller for it’s time with young Drew Barrymore as the centrepiece of mobile spontaneous combustion.

Then there was the superior sequel Firestarter Rekindled (2002) which I encourage all genre admirers to seek out, Marguerite Moreau as an older Charlie, is vivacious and astonishing.

This time around we follow dad, Adny McGee (Zac Efron) and daughter Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) on the run from Government officials who experimented on them and mum Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) conjuring up telekinesis and mind control abilities.

Charlie being the youngest is most powerful and still attempting to learn from Andy to harness it, however when she gets mad or distressed, things around her scorch, then flame up fast.

Slow patches throughout don’t help momentum of story, action and horror sequences may be few but mostly worth the wait, you remain interested in their survival.

I’ve always praised Efron‘s dramatic poise, no different here, he is believable, a good actor when in serious mode. That look he gives when bleeding from the eyes is spot on. Ryan Kiera Armstrong is no once in a lifetime talent Barrymore, however as Charlie there’s a mix of innocent despair that works, her angry scenes are good.

Lovely Lanette Ware (Girl) pops up in a distinguishable cameo as a school Principal, whilst legend Kurtwood Smith, has a small, sadly underused role, but he is always good to see / hear.

Filmed in Ontario, Canada, scenery is cinemascope worthy, overall Firestarter misses the mark but is not too bad overall, only just.

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★★ 1/2


Horror, Thriller | USA, 2021 | 15 | 13th May 2022 (UK) | Cinema | Universal Pictures | Dir.Keith Thomas | Zac Efron, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Sydney Lemmon, Michael Greyeyes, Gloria Reuben, Kurtwood Smith