Starring: Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Zac Efron, Gloria Reuben, and Kurtwood Smith
Director: Keith Thomas
What’s the saying, “if you play with fire, you’ll get burned?” For the remake of Firestarter, that statement is very much true. It has no spark of life or purpose, failing to rise to even its moderate potential. The film needs more plot to give us just a sliver of an emotional connection to its characters, and don’t get me started on how poor the fire visual effects are. The only thrilling thing about this flick is John Carpenter's score, but not even that could save this movie from the flames.
Despite an intriguing premise, Firestarter can’t be bothered to follow through on a single idea it presents across its 94-minute runtime. Each time the film finds a new direction to follow, it abruptly shifts in tone and cadence, trying to be everything but committing to nothing. Is it a superhero movie? A domestic thriller? A horror film? These questions are never answered, and poor Zac Efron can’t seem to catch a break as his tentpole hopes are once again dashed. Inconsistent characterizations and vague gestures at genre commitment can’t save something this underdeveloped.