FIRESTARTER  (REVIEW)
Dir. Keith Thomas
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Remakes have always been revered especially for films and franchises that are embedded in generational memories and cult status. Sometimes they are bad and pointless, others a fresh take on the originals premise, and then there's a subset that reminds people that the originals exist and give a new audience to the predecessor. FIRESTARTER falls in the latter but is not without its merits.
Carried by a great dual father and daughter relationship, Zac Efron and Ryan Kiera Armstrong really give life to a story that falls somewhere between horror and superhero movies akin to BRIGHTBURN.
After being experimented on by a secret government entity, Andy McGee (Efron) develops psychic powers and meets the love of his life. Together they have a daughter (Armstrong) with a power of her own and shady organisation will stop at nothing to get them back.
FIRESTARTER is never truly terrifying but the lengths at which Andy's parents go to for what is right and wrong is a performance that transcends the hypothetical scenario on screen and becomes a relatable struggle for parents with gifted children in a society that hates anything outside it's normal. Keith Thomas gives us some dark moments which make this worthy of an age rating of 15 and gives us a Dark Phoenix film older viewers will appreciate given the performances from its cast.
Proving once again that Zac Efron is one of the most underrated actors of this generation, whether it's playing a desperate father, an isolated friend in WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS, or a singing businessman, what is refreshing here is to see someone who is so embedded in the Hollywood elite taking on horror and not holding back from a movie that isn't afraid to show some grizzlier moments that are usually avoided for a mainstream movie.
With an interesting opening worthy of grabbing even the most hardcore horror fan, unfortunately it moves swiftly into mainstream territory but is no less forgiving for it and despite some negativity around the film for it's mediocrity, it's actually a really enjoyable 90 minutes that is a perfect getaway from these cold winter months.