Keith Thomas is really leaving his mark on horror early in his career. Last Year, Thomas unleashed his dread-ridden tale of demons during a Hasidic burial tradition in one of Horror Obsessive’s favorite films of 2021, The Vigil. This year, Thomas will lend his talents to Netflix and Guillermo Del Toro‘s Twilight Zone–style anthology series Cabinet of Curiosities. First, however, he’ll make the classic Stephen King story, Firestarter (2022), his playground.
You probably already know this isn’t the first time Firestarter has come to the big screen. The first rendition of the tale featured Drew Barrymore in the title role and featured the talents of David Keith, George C Scott, Art Carney, Louise Fletcher, Martin Sheen, and Heather Locklear. This time around, American Horror Story alum Ryan Kiera Armstrong takes on Barrymore’s Charlie McGee, and if the trailer is any indication, she is primed to kindle her own following. Armstrong will be joined by Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile star Zac Efron, Wild Indian‘s Michael Greyeyes, Robocop‘s Kurtwood Smith, Timecop‘s Gloria Reuben, and Fear the Walking Dead‘s Sydney Lemmon. The jury is still out on whether or not we’ll see a Drew Barrymore cameo in Firestarter (2022).
The Firestarter (2022) story seems not to have changed too much from the original, though the revealed details aren’t as forthright in the synopsis, stating what we learn in the trailer. Andy (Efron) teaches his daughter Charlie (Armstrong) how to defuse and hide her intensifying abilities when she gets picked on at school. Her youthful emotions triggered by the pain and anger she experiences make Charlie a ticking timebomb. After an incident, a bounty hunter (Greyeyes) is dispatched to find the family, whose past makes them a target, with specific instruction to capture Charlie for nefarious experimentation. Something tells me that Charlie is not going to let that happen.
A fun connection to the original film, director Mark L. Lester (Class of 1984) was approached to replace John Carpenter following extensive screenplay rewrites and Universal’s hesitation over the box office underperformance of The Thing. Carpenter went on to make Christine instead, but thirty-eight years in the making, the master of horror will be recognizable in Firestarter (2022) as the film’s composer, alongside fellow Halloween (2018) and Halloween Kills composers Cody Carpenter and Daniel Davies.
Firestarter (2022) looks like a ton of fun with many avenues to explore, from bullying to repression. Much of the trailer gave me Brightburn vibes, especially when Charlie combusts the raven, offering a visual review of my thoughts on the 2021 remake of The Stand. A few images of rising thermostats and bubbling paint resemble Thomas’ Vigil origins of creeping terror that cause your skin to crawl and knees to shake in anticipatory terror.
Firestarter (2022) will heat up theaters and stream exclusively on Peacock on May 13.