On May 13, “Firestarter” finally hit theaters.
Directed by Keith Thomas, the horror film is yet another adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name.
MEGAThe synopsis reads, “A couple desperately try to hide their daughter, Charlie, from a shadowy federal agency that wants to harness her unprecedented gift for turning fire into a weapon of mass destruction. Her father taught her how to defuse her power, but as Charlie turns 11, the fire becomes harder and harder to control. When a mysterious operative finally finds the family, he tries to seize Charlie once and for all — but she has other plans.”
“High School Musical” alum Zac Efron stars in the film, but it seems like it’s not going to be enough to impress critics.
‘Firestarter’ Is Starting To Look Like A Flop
Things aren’t looking good for this latest version of “Firestarter,” which is currently available to stream on Peacock. As of Friday afternoon, the film had a 19% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an audience score of 45%.
John Urbancich of JMuvies wrote, “The 1984 original featured talents such as Drew Barrymore, George C. Scott, Art Carney and still mostly burned out. This new version, also based on the ever-superior Stephen King novel, is headed by Zac Efron. Now that’s really kinda scary.” He gave the film a 2 out of 5.
Matt Donato of Paste Magazine called the movie “a soulless remake of an already iffy Stephen King adaptation that only makes changes for the worse.” Donato gave the film a 5 out of 10.
Maria Lattila of WhyNot gave the film a 1 out of 5, writing, “Firestarter, yet another Stephen King adaptation, arrives with very little fanfare and no wonder – it’s shockingly bad.”
EJ Moreno of Flickering Myth wrote, “The era of strong Stephen King adaptations is behind us, as Firestarter feels like a callback to the days of bad King movies. All of the pieces are here, but it sadly never connects to anything meaningful.” Moreno gave the film a 1 out of 4.
Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com also gave the film a 1 out of 4, writing, “A film that goes through the motions with such apathetic predictability and pure cinematic laziness that you may want to set whatever device you’re watching it on ablaze.”
Mike McGranaghan of Aisle Seat was the third critic to give the film a 1 out of 4. Mike called the film “one of the worst movies ever made from a Stephen King novel.”
Robert Daniels of The Playlist wrote, “In the process, many will confuse this narrative’s hesitations as a kind of endearing campiness. When, in fact, it’s bang-on bad.” He gave the film a score of D-.
Meagan Navarro of Bloody Disgusting wrote, “Firestarter winds up mirroring Charlie’s story a little too closely. A promising beginning comes unraveled by the desire to burn it all down.” Navarro gave the film a 2 out of 5.
Critics Call The Movie All Smoke, No Fire
MEGABrian Orndorf of Blu-ray.com wrote, “A real head-scratcher at times, fumbling with ideas and conflicts, well aware that most viewers sitting down to watch it probably have no idea the 1984 effort (or the book) even exists.” He gave the film a D score.
Jason Fraley of WTOP (Washington, D.C.) wrote, “A sci-fi horror remake that squanders its initial Stephen King spark by veering into over-the-top moments set to cheesy ’80s music and uncertain rules of magic to ultimately go up in flames.” He gave the film a 2.5 out of 5.
MEGARobert Kojder of Flickering Myth wrote, “Aside from John Carpenter’s, Cody Carpenter’s, and Daniel A. Davies’ serviceable pounding synthetic score, and Ryan Kiera Armstrong trying her best to ignite a spark, Firestarter wears the brain down until it’s mush.” He gave the film a 2 out of 5.
William Bibbianl of TheWrap wrote, “The whole movie is a long fuse, but if you light it, it doesn’t lead to a stick of dynamite. It just leads to the other end of a fuse.”
“Firestarter” is available in theaters, but Stephen King fans who have to see it may be better off saving themselves the price of admission and watching it on Peacock instead.