This “Firestarter” opens with Charlie at school, not on the run like the original. Of course, that would lead to a brutal display of power. After a few close calls, Charlie kind of emerges like a phoenix after a dodgeball incident sends his emotions into the burning category. The principal and teacher believed the ball of fire that came out of the bathroom stall was an explosive one, but mom and dad disagreed on what to do next. You see, they have powers too, experimental products from an MK Ultra type program run by something called The Shop. Daddy Andy (Zac Efron, and, yes, I also feel that old Efron is believed to be able to play a father) has an ability called “The Push,” which is primarily mind control. Her daughter’s power seemed magnified and unstoppable. He even beat up his mother Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) with telekinetic attack. Mom and Dad had to do something serious to protect Charlie and themselves.
Hiding in the shadows for many years, The Shop emerged when Captain Hollister (Gloria Reuben) calls a bounty hunter who can handle Charlie’s situation “with kindness,” a soul named John Rainbird (Michael Greyeyes), introduces brooding in emo rock, of course. He quickly goes to Charlie’s house, but the child is rewarded for almost killing his mother with ice cream, of course. When Charlie and dad get back, they discover how hot it is right now and keep running. Some screams and explosions followed, with some attempts by dad to teach him how to control his power. Explosions are common, which look like a tactic like a TikTok filter.
Blumhouse’s model is to keep budgets low, but they often hire directors and production teams who can hide the corners cut by good filmmaking choices. Not this time. Just look at “Firestarter” AFFORDABLE—Mostly, cheaper than the 1984 version — with no memorable craft elements or decisions other than a cool, ’80s score from John Carpenter, Cody Carpenterand Daniel Davis. The score deserves a movie that knows how to use it more effectively and has a tighter visual language. Everything here is so close, boring coverage of dialogue scenes, and even more intense action. It’s always hard to know what happens when things have to get serious and director. Keith Thomas miserable geographical work (mostly due to close-up, reverse shot structure that didn’t put two people in the frame of the room).
By a strange coincidence, there will be another film opening in some towns and on VOD this week about a children’s telekinetic called “The Innocents,” praised by Stephen King himself, you might remember in a short time he was also attracted to unpredictable little monsters. Find a way to keep that in mind.
In theaters and at Peacock today.