Stephen King’s Firestarter Adaptation Gone Horribly Wrong

Not sure what (not) to watch? Check out this review of the 2022 adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel Firestarter and find out why we don't recommend it.

The new Firestarter movie is, as anyone who has seen it already will tell you, a total mess. Directed by Keith Thomas and written by Scott Teems, Firestarter is based on a great Stephen King novel. Released on May 13 in theatres and on the streaming service Peacock, the reviews so far have been justifiably horrid. So, what went wrong?


The Story of Firestarter

The amazing Zack Efron is one of the two leads of the film, playing Andy McGee, a father to Charlie. She (Charlie) is played by newcomer Ryan Kiera Armstrong and she’s by far the best part of the movie. Her acting at such a young age is definitely to be complimented. Ryan certainly has a bright future. As a matter of fact, none of the actors are to blame for this failure. They all did their best with the script they’ve been given.

The story simply does not work. Barely anything works here. The tone is all over the place. It’s far from a horror although it tries to be at times, as well as you feel nothing for these characters even though the film wants you to. The production feels so incredibly cheap. The fire effects are just ridiculously fake. The editing is also a nightmare. It feels totally unprofessional and just jarring to look at. The way sometimes the film moves from scene to scene is flat-out laughable. Certainly, with a budget of $12 million, it’s not like you’re expecting high-level effects but at least some level of professionalism is to be expected from a Hollywood film starring Zack Efron. Thankfully, the movie is quite a shortcoming with a run time of just 94 minutes.

One undeniably good aspect of the film is the score. The legend John Carpenter has composed the music here and when it comes on it is nice to listen to. Unfortunately, you’re just left wishing that the great music was accompanied by another good film.



The Reception of Firestarter

With such a low budget you’d think that the movie would have no problem at the box office making its money back, but that’s very much left to be seen. Those unlucky to have spent their money on this film at the cinemas will surely have regretted it already. If you have a subscription to Peacock and are interested to see for yourself just how bad it is, then, feel free but otherwise just wait for another film to come along at the cinemas. For example, the new Top Gun movie looks great; go watch that.

Rotten Tomatoes has Firestarter at a 12% aggregate score, while Metacritic has it at a 33/100. No spoilers, but by the end, it’s clear that the story is left open-ended in a way that it may be trying to set up for a sequel. If this kind of effort will be put into it again then the studio may as well just scrap that idea and move on to something else immediately. It’s not too harsh to say that while there are undeniably talented people who have worked on this film, pretty much no one will want to add Firestarter to their portfolio moving forward. It’ll simply be too embarrassing to let anyone know you had anything to do with this film.

There is no shortage of better options for you to watch pretty much anywhere you look. This had quite a bit of potential but it wasted it completely. Trailers often spoil a lot hence why it’s best to avoid them usually, however, it was obvious this movie wasn’t good to anyone who even watched the trailer to this film months ago.


Photo courtesy of the brand


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