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Firestarter (2022) Movie Review

Her hair is always in her face.

Her hair is always in her face.

MPAA RATINGR for Fire...starting.

Running Time, but more like Burning Time, am I right?

94 Flame Broiled Minutes.


Keith Thomas


Screenplay by Scott Teems from the Stephen King novel.

Of the nearly 1,500 Stephen King adaptations that have made its way to movie screens, television consoles, Broadway plays, dull podcasts and performed on busy bridges only to inevitably have one of the performers fall off the bridge and into a large body of water, Firestarter (2022) is by far the most recent, assuming you read this sentence within a week of its posting and not sometime in 2055.

As you might know Firestarter was made into a movie sometime in the 80s starring ET’s own tiny Drew Barrymore as the titular starter of fire. I hadn’t seen it ages but decided not to rewatch so I wouldn’t be clouded by the original. I don’t remember much about it except for the scene in which little Drew Barrymore sets fire on what’s supposed to be an ET but they couldn’t call it ET back then because of licensing but we all know that that glowing finger was supposed to convey. Little Charlie laughs maniacally as ET’s red heart explodes and is splattered all over her cherubic face. Mini Drew licks her face clean with the alien entrails of her former friend, looks into the camera and says the iconic line written by Stephen King, “Fire finished”.

Anyway, I heard this one stars the guy from High School Musical.

She acts like her hair is on fire.

This Synopsis Is Burning

Firestarter opens on a new father named Andy McGee (Zac Efron- Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Baywatch which I’m sure he’s very proud of). He has a new infant named Charlie (played by George Washington) and she’s your typical mini human. She wants food. She wants her bottle. She wants her parents to give them to her right f*cking now.

Or else…

When infant Charlie gets upset, things get set on fire. Charlie’s mobile turns from looking like cute little animals designed to calm a baby to melted former animals designed to give them nightmares. Good thing…

It was all a dream. Yay! We love it when movies start off with a dream sequence so we can see actors flex their “waking up from a dream sequence” muscles.

The opening credits (fire)start and we learn that Andy (Zac Efron singing and dancing his way into your heart) and his wife Vicky (Sydney “Lime and” Lemmon) were interviewed when they were younger by a totally trustworthy government agency under the guise of participating in a study.

Turns out this totally trustworthy government agency (under the cute and cuddly name Lot Six) found out that Vicky and Andy have psychic powers and wanted to do invasive tests on them in ways that won’t harm or interfere with their ability to live a happy and healthy life.

Andy is not Andy’s real name. He has the ability to “push” people into doing things, seeing things only he wants them to see. Vicky can also do some of those same things.

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Andy and Vicky escaped the clutches of Lot 6. They had a baby and hoped none of their genes gave their future offspring any paranormal proclivities.

We need more shots of her hair askew.

We need more shots of her hair askew.

Andy now makes a living “pushing” people into quitting smoking for cash. Vicky spends her time taking care of Charlie while they move from place to place.

But Charlie’s growing up. She doesn’t like being called the weird kid. She doesn’t like how she’s the only child without access to the internet. Or doesn’t have a phone.

Andy and Vicky knew this day might come. They knew High School Musical didn’t need all those f*cking sequels. They didn’t know We Are Your Friends was a movie that actually existed or that The Greatest Showman would gloss over animal cruelty in lieu of catchy songs.

Because Charlie got justifiably upset in a very incendiary manner, Lot 6 knows where their former test subjects are. They are sending a fellow practitioner of the psychic arts with the cool name Rainbird (Michael Greyeyes- also a cool name) to find Charlie.

Rainbird nor Lot Six have any idea who they’re dealing with. We do because we know the name of the movie. You know how the old saying goes, “If you can’t take the heat, don’t try to kidnap a pre-teen girl that doesn’t have wi-fi and try to do freaky experiments with her”.

"I'm sorry about Baywatch."

"I'm sorry about Baywatch."

What Works With Firestarter 2022.

  • A scene in a bathroom is the closest thing you’ll come to an extended set piece of horror. It’s reasonably well executed but about as scary as anything you’ll see on Stranger Things. Then again, you can only sit through the Doctor Strange sequel so many times.
  • If you’re a Stephen King fan, there’s a place you can put that little kitty.

What Doesn’t Work With Firestarter 2022.

  • The movie has an ‘R’ rating, but it barely makes any use of it. There are a couple of shots of gore and more than one F word spoken, but most of the production feels like what you’d expect from a PG-13 Blumhouse production.
  • Firestarter is being released simultaneously in theaters and on Peacock. If I saw this in theaters I would be p*ssed that there weren’t enough genuine scares to warrant the gas used and the money you’d have to spend on a ticket. From the comfort of your own home, Firestarter is easier to digest since it’s just ‘Meh’ and not outright horrible. As you watch the credits from a couch made of human skin you can be glad you didn’t pay for a ticket to see this.
She can't find her phone.

She can't find her phone.

Overall Burning Sensation.

An almost genial Stephen King adaptation that’s not quite terrible enough to skip, but not quite good enough to recommend. For a movie that’s about a girl who can set things on fire, there’s not much heat generated. There are worse ways to spend 90 minutes, just don’t drive anywhere to see it

Really 2.5


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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Noel Penaflor

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