Action / Horror / Sci-Fi / Thriller

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 39%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 53%
IMDb Rating 6 10 24582


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August 19, 2014 at 03:17 AM



Drew Barrymore as Charlene 'Charlie' McGee
Martin Sheen as Captain Hollister
Heather Locklear as Victoria 'Vicky' Tomlinson McGee
Louise Fletcher as Norma Manders
1.84 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 54 min
P/S 5 / 23

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by virek213 7 / 10

Burning Rage

During 1983 and 1984, there were no fewer than four movies released that were based on the works of Stephen King, this era's horror literature maven. The first three were THE DEAD ZONE, CUJO, and CHRISTINE. The fourth, and least commercially successful, was FIRESTARTER, based on King's 1980 novel. The fact that it didn't fare all that well with critics or audiences doesn't diminish the fact that it remains, despite some flaws, one of the best adaptations of King's works, as well as a commentary on the dangerous of government interference and dissembling in people's lives.

Drew Barrymore, who made a star-making turn in E.T.: THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, is the young girl possessed of a devastating kind of psychic power called pyrokinesis, the ability to light fires just by concentrating long and hard about it. Her power is the result of her parents (David Keith; Heather Locklear) having undergone a bizarre chemical experiment in 1969 conducted by a secret government agency known as The Shop. Since then, eight of the ten patients originally involved have died horrible deaths, and Locklear has been murdered by agents of the Shop. Now, Keith and Barrymore are on their own, with Keith's only ability to protect Barrymore being his own psychic ability. But once in the hands of the Shop, led by Martin Sheen and George C. Scott, they are the subject of various experiments on their abilities. Barrymore gets special attention, of course, because of her fiery power, especially from Scott. In the end, of course, Sheen and Scott, and the rest of the Shop's minions, find out what happens when you play with a power that you don't fully appreciate...

There are admittedly flaws with FIRESTARTER, most of them having to do with the slightly perfunctory way that Mark L. Lester (CLASS OF 1984) directs the actors, this even though he has some superb ones, notably Sheen and Scott. The dialogue is also a little clunky at times too. But overall, FIRESTARTER succeeds more often than it fails, due to King's own narrative genius, Barrymore's credible performance, and the special effects wizardry of Mike Wood. The scenes of the Shop being incinerated at the end by Barrymore's burning rage after her father has been killed are particularly spectacular. FIRESTARTER also benefits from brief but welcome cameo roles by Art Carney and Louise Fletcher, who become her protectors after the firestorm.

However flawed it might be, FIRESTARTER does provide plenty of suspense and atmosphere without an extreme amount of bloodshed (though the fire scenes are quite hair-raising all the same), and is well worth seeing.

Reviewed by Lee Eisenberg ([email protected]) 9 / 10

Take "Carrie" one step further...

If you thought that "Carrie" made incredible use of conflagrations, you ain't seen nothing yet! In Stephen King's other combustion-themed story, "Firestarter" portrays the daughter (Drew Barrymore) of a experimental guinea pig (David Keith) using her ignition abilities to get her way. When the government kidnaps her and her father, things really get ugly.

On one level, this movie seems a little preachy, with the shadowy agents going after the man and his daughter. But I would call that an accurate depiction of things. And you gotta agree with what the girl does, no matter how extreme she gets (and I'm talking really extreme). So I definitely recommend this movie. But if you're a pyromaniac, don't let this movie encourage you.

Also starring Heather Locklear, Martin Sheen, George C. Scott, Art Carney and Louise Fletcher.

Reviewed by Anthony Piggott 5 / 10

An Awkward Adaptation

The main problem with "Firestarter" is it tries to adapt the story of the book faithfully, at the expense of character development. It is impossible to cram a five hundred page book into one two hour movie and make it work favourably. For much of the picture, the pacing feels awkward and rushed, more interested in moving the plot along than developing the characters.

Brian De Palma's "Carrie" followed the story of the book just as closely. But seeing as "Carrie" is less than half the length of "Firestarter", it made for a much more comfortable adaptation.

Stanley Kubrick had the right idea with "the Shining". The book was about the same length as "Firestarter", and as a result the plot was butchered heavily to make it work for the screen. Stephen King (and much of his loyal fanbase) have misgivings about Kubrick's adaptation, a lot of people who love film (and recognise it as the different medium that it is) regard it as a masterpiece.

Mark Lester's "Firestarter" isn't all bad however. George C. Scott's John Rainbird is inspired casting, and probably the best thing this film has going for it. The scene at the Manders' farm, and the conclusion at the Shop's headquarters make for enjoyable viewing and are handled capably.

It's a shame, that as a whole, the film doesn't work too well. I'd definitely like to see this re-adapted into another film or a mini-series. The book isn't exactly King's best, but it has a lot of potential for another screen outing. 5/10

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