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Firestarter (1984), starring Drew Barrymore, David Keith, Heather Locklear, Martin Sheen, Art Carney, George C. Scott

Synopsis of Firestarter

Drew Barrymore stars as an eight-year-old girl with the amazing ability to start fires with just a glance. Can her power and the love of her father (David Keith) save her from the clandestine government agency, The Shop, that wants her destroyed? From the Stephen King novel.

Editorial review of Firestarter courtesy of Amazon.com

Stephen King wasn’t exactly in peak form when he wrote Firestarter, so this 1984 movie adaptation was at a disadvantage even before the cameras rolled. There were so many King movies being made at the time that this one’s weaknesses became even more apparent. In her first film role after her memorable appearance in E.T., Drew Barrymore stars as a little girl whose parents acquired strange mental powers after participating in a secret government experiment. From this genetic background she has developed the mysterious ability to set anything on fire at will, especially when she’s angry.

That makes her very interesting to government officials seeking to exploit her skill as a secret weapon. Her father seeks to protect her by using his powers of mind-control, and George C. Scott plays an Indian who believes the girl must be destroyed. There’s a routine climax involving a lot of impressive pyrotechnics, but none of this is grounded in a dramatically solid foundation, and none of the characters are developed enough for us to care about them. So the movie gradually turns into a laughable thriller with no suspense whatsoever. It’s a movie only a pyromaniac could love. Jeff Shannon


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