Home Night Light by Jamie Miller This girl is on fire: A review of “Firestarter”

This girl is on fire: A review of “Firestarter”

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A column straight from the unorthodox mind of Jamie Miller. Often written during the middle of the night, Miller provides reviews of TV shows and movies, books, and details life through from his perspective (artwork by Abby Haywood/The Collegiate).

By Jamie Miller

Greetings Nightlighters, it is I, “the freewheeling, fiery-hearted writer” Jamie Miller here with yet another issue of Nightlight. Now, friends I have covered many films here on Nightlight, some have been horror, some have been science fiction. Well tonight Nightlighters, I’ll be killing two birds with one giant Stephen King-made stone. So sit back and enjoy my review of “Firestarter,” which was released on May 13. 

This remake of the 1984 classic  tells the tale of young Charlie McGee experiencing the struggles many children go through: she doesn’t seem to fit in, has trouble with bullies and oh yeah…she’s pyrokinetic. This is the result of her parents being involved in a clinical trial that, in addition to giving them superhuman powers, caused young Charlie to be born with superhuman powers as well. However, unlike her parents she lacks the skill to properly control them. 

As a result, the quasi government organization responsible for her powers known simply as The Shop, begins a ruthless pursuit of her and her father, a pursuit that will force Charlie into a battle she has no desire to wage. This ends in a fiery confrontation the likes of which even the devil himself could only dream. 

The film stars Ryan Kiera Armstrong of “Black Widow” fame, as the titular firestarter, Zac Efron, of all people, known for roles such as Troy Bolton in the “High School Musical” trilogy as well as films such as “Baywatch” and “17 again” stars as Andrew McGee, Charlie’s father who possesses telepathic abilities and is singularly driven to protect his daughter no matter the cost. Sydney Lemmon, known for playing the female lead in “Helstrom” plays the part of Vicky McGee, Charlie’s mother and Andrew’s wife who possesses the power of telekinesis

Gloria Reuben of “Mr. Robot” fame is along for the ride in the role of Captain Hollister, a gender flipped version of the main antagonist in the book. Also featured is Michael Greyeyes of “Blood Quantum” fame, who appears in the role of John Rainbird who is telepathic and works for the company to hunt down Charlie and her father and for the first time is Native American like the character is in the book. 

Of all the many horror movies I have seen…this is definitely one of them. It was unremarkable, if you will. I really don’t know what to say, it’s not a horrible movie, but it’s not a phenomenal movie either. Efron was ok as a father though it’s still really hard for me to comprehend the star of high school musical as a father, it seems like just yesterday he was inspiring children around school to sing about getting your head in the game and now he’s playing the father of pyrokinetic children. It’s really odd.    

If I had one complaint it would be the character Rainbird. Now, in the novel, and original film starring Drew Barrymore, he was a ruthless, amoral, irredeemable assassin. In the new film they tried to make him more complex and tragic which I am all for, after all, as characters like Magento show tragic sympathetic villains make for awesome characters and enhance the story tenfold. The problem with this example is no one in charge of the film seemed overly committed to this facet of Rainbird.

One minute he is brutally gunning down innocent people without even blinking, and the next he’s all conflicted about hunting Charlie, it’s like c’mon man make up your freaking mind! Either be the stone cold, remorseless killing machine, or be the sympathetic villain capable of redemption. You can’t be both. All in all this movie was kinda meh, I give it five torches out of 10. Rather than a blazing inferno it’s reminiscent of a burnpile in someone’s front yard. Watch it if you wish, though don’t go in expecting it to set your world on fire. 

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