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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

On the Run

Firestarter on IMDb

Plot Overview

College Newsbeakers

dad, babyA secret government entity called The Shop has been experimenting on college students, giving them doses of their Lot 6 hoping to enhance inherited psychic abilities. Two of their subjects Andy (Zac Efron) & Vicky (Sydney Lemmon) get married as young folk do, and they have a girl-child Charlie McGee who early on displayed a pyro­kinetic ability to start fires when agitated. Andy and Vicky spirit their kid away from the lab and live in hiding trying to squelch her powers that would be a giveaway. As she approaches puberty they're harder to hide.

woman teacherfrog on googleMatters come to a head in biology class when Charlie (Ryan Kiera Arm­strong) “murders” a dead frog she's trying to dissect, and the teacher Miss Gardner (Tina Jung) suggests she use ready-made images of frog organs she can find on Google. But Charlie hasn't access to Google as her family is off the grid. Her class­mates make fun of her, so she goes to the girls' room to blow off steam. It's enough of an incident that the authorities get involved and her family has to hit the road again.

Packingrooster and chickIn the barnyard of kind farmer Irv Manders (John Beasley,) the chicken gets fried, Charlie receives pointers, and the authorities descend.


Being based on a Stephen King novel, this movie is expectedly weird. In the same way Rod Serling couched morality tales in Twilight Zone episodes, King hides his in horror tales, lessons that are tough to swallow other­wise. How­ever straight­forward they be, read from the Bible they're, unfortu­nately, water off the duck's back. Here the new­born babe is analogous to the starting Christian being born again, and her potential saintliness analogous to Charlie's developing super power. She must navigate serious opposition.

James a leader in the church cautions us to (James 1:19) “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” When holed up at the farmer's spread, Charlie uses her super power to divine what his comatose wife Esmerelda ‘Essi’ (Sheila Boyd) has been wanting to tell him for thirty years. That increases their estimation in the farmer's eyes who had been extremely suspicious up till this point. A Christian who is considered odd by her contemporaries will gain favor if she'll be “swift to hear,” to listen to them as Charlie had, pressing her face up to the window. We can all be attentive what­ever our powers may be.

Being “slow to speak” recommends itself to us as we watch Andy “pushing” hypnotic suggestions on his client Darla Gurney (Hannan Younis) who wants to quit smoking. Some­times new converts to the faith will try to push their message on others. The camera pans back and forth between these two in closeups, Andy with his intense hypnotic eye, and Darla with her corpulent negroid lips. My dictionary app defines lip as an “importune or insolent rejoinder.” Our mind bounces back and forth between mental images of an uppity Negro giving some­one lip and a self-righteous Christian boring in with his unwelcome message. Visually Darla's complaint about price coincides with her black skin representing the venal sin of (expensive) smoking, and Andy's intensity with a drop of red blood from his hemorrhaging eye.

Being “slow to wrath” was what Charlie was supposed to do, to suck it up, hold it in. We see her walking away from conflict to go in the girls' room and blow off steam, repeatedly banging the stall door shut, and then the toilet exploded. Alas that she lacked the training any budding psychic needs or for that matter any young Christian.

Production Values

” (2022) was directed by Keith Thomas. Its screenplay was written by Scott Teems based on Stephen King's novel, Firestarter. It stars Zac Efron, Ryan Kiera Arm­strong and Sydney Lemmon. The acting was not very impressive; this will not be their big break. The child's screams were not going to make any­one run for the fire extinguisher but would be adequate, say, for a school play.

MPAA rated it R for violent content. Its runtime was 1½ hours. It had some excellent special effects that were used repetitively. Its strong music score by John Carpenter was very creepy and spelled imminent doom. The production design was sparse, the effects hit or miss, the cast second string, the direction blundering, the action tepid, the drama lack­luster, and the pace sluggish.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

Whether or not one likes this movie depends on how much he likes Stephen King. He's not my favorite and was last on my list at the theater before I'd go to a rental. If you're a Stephen King fan, you'll probably like it regardless.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Weak action scenes. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.