Jhere’s bad luck in store this Friday the 13th. Not just for everyone involved with Blumhouse’s new soft-spoken take on Stephen King’s Firestarter, but also for the damned few who will end up watching an ill-conceived theatrical release wisely coupled with a launch more modest American streaming service on Peacock. Regardless of screen size, it’s a non-starter.
Based on one of the author’s less engaging but still successful books, blending elements of Carrie and The Dead Zone, straddling sci-fi, adventure and horror, Firestarter modernizes a story we now see far too often. . Ever since its release in 1980 and first adaptation in 1984, Hollywood has been consumed by the possibilities of superpowers, mostly on a bigger and bigger stage, but also in smaller stand-alone stories. As Everything, Everywhere, Everything At Once continues to soar high, alongside the release of Marvel’s Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and Eskil Vogt’s The Innocents, we are reminded that art and the multiplex have reached the superpower saturation. Perhaps that’s why Firestarter’s arrival is even more boring, telling a story we know all too well and don’t need to hear again.
After some promising credits, filling in style with the stories of college couple Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) and the infamous tests they chose to take part in, we fast forward to see the family they’ve now made. with 11 daughter Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong). They live remotely without phones or wifi, moving when needed, a constant shroud of mystery to hide their identities and powers. Vicky has a mild, untrained form of telekinesis, Andy has psychic abilities, and Charlie has pyrokinesis, turning things and people on fire when his emotions are at their peak. After an accident at school, things start falling apart at home and their cover is blown.
What follows is a maddening, tension-free chase tale as the family tries to evade the capture of another super-powered test subject gone rogue (Michael Greyeyes) and the malevolent agent (Gloria Reubens) who has hired. Director Keith Thomas’ pacing is as flat as his visuals, a shame considering the buzz that surrounded his 2019 horror The Vigil, his latest dramatic downturn for a genre filmmaker already consumed by the system. Firestarter is as anonymous and pointless as it gets, the sort of dated “just because” remake that cluttered cinemas in the 2000s. While the original is far from essential (it’s also kind of boring), it has everything at least served as a showcase for a young Drew Barrymore, who gave a typically precocious and persuasive performance. There’s nothing close to that here, although Efron, who is transitioning smoothly into dad roles, uses his easy movie star charisma to rise above the film lethargy surrounding him. .
Scott Teems’ sadly superficial script isn’t at least as terribly bad as his script for Halloween Kills, A Little Mercy, though the two films oddly share John Carpenter in charge of music, his retro synth score working at odds. with Thomas’ pedestrian aesthetic. Nobody here seems to know what they’re doing and, more importantly, why. A strong contender for the most pointless movie of 2022.