Does the Latest ‘Firestarter’ Light a Fire? Let’s Find Out!

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Firestarter 2022 (CREDIT: Ken Woroner/Universal Pictures)

Starring: Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Zac Efron, Sydney Lemmon, Kurtwood Smith, John Beasley, Michael Greyeyes, Gloria Reuben

Director: Keith Thomas

Running Time: 94 Minutes

Rating: R for Bloody Eyes and Third Degree Burns

Release Date: May 13, 2022 (Theaters and Peacock)

If you’re in the mood for a movie but every version of yourself has already seen Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, maybe you’re looking to try something new. Perhaps, maybe, quite possibly, you’re considering the latest version of Firestarter, based on the 1980 Stephen King novel, which was previously adapted in 1984 with a young Drew Barrymore as the titular pyrokinetic. Now newcomer Ryan Kiera Armstrong is the one summoning the flames, and you might be wondering just how combustible she is. It is Friday the 13th, after all. And as it is also 2022, you have options for where to get spooked. So join me as we journey to determine if you should check out Firestarter on the big screen, stream it on Peacock, or do something else entirely.

First of all, I’ll point out that I watched this movie at home on my couch via a pre-release screener link. That’s not my ideal scenario, as I always prefer to see movies in the theater no matter what movie it is, but it did help clarify what I was missing out on. In particular, there’s the sense of being enveloped, and that’s especially important in this case, because the best thing about this movie is its original score from John Carpenter along with his son Cody and frequent collaborator Daniel Davies. Carpenter may have stopped directing, but he can still deliver those classic synth vibes to transport us to another dimension like nobody’s business. Hearing his new compositions at home gave me a nice buzz for an hour or so, but if they had been pumped into my subconscious on the surround sound, they probably would have left me thrumming for at least a week.

In favor of the at-home option is of course the convenience and affordability angle, and if you weren’t a Peacock subscriber already, you might even discover that it’s home to some pretty great shows. Not to mention that the original Firestarter is also available there currently, so you can easily jump back in time 38 years ago for comparison’s sake. Of course, there are always the distractions inherent to watching at home, and I can’t say that I found this new Firestarter particularly compelling, Armstrong’s best efforts notwithstanding. In general, the cast is made up of devoted vets whom I’ve enjoyed in other things taking the material seriously, though they’re not done any favors by a workmanlike approach that doesn’t really attempt to reinvent the flame. But maybe the appeal of watching a movie like this at home is that it doesn’t have to be burdened by expectations. Instead, you can efficiently throw it on, pay as much attention as you want, and then cross it off of your to-do list of Taking the Pulse of Modern Horror.

Firestarter 2022 is Recommended to Watch in the Theater If You Like: To have the fullest possible experience of new John Carpenter music

Firestarter 2022 is Recommended to Watch on Peacock If You Like: Being an Efficient Completist

Grade: 2 out of 5 Incinerations

Entertainment To-Do List: Week of 5/13/22

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CREDIT: Prime Video/Screenshot

Every week, I list all the upcoming (or recently released) movies, TV shows, albums, podcasts, etc. that I believe are worth checking out.

Movies
Firestarter (Theaters and Peacock) – Related: Cheryl on Riverdale has always recently developed pyrokinesis.
On the Count of Three (Theaters and On Demand)
Pleasure (Theaters)

TV
The Kids in the Hall Season 6 (May 13 on Amazon Prime Video) – They’re back, and still Canadian.

Music
-The Black Keys, Dropout Boogie
-Florence + the Machine, Dance Fever
-Kendrick Lamar, Mr. Lamar & the Big Steppers
-Mandy Moore, In Real Life

Sports
-NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament (May 11-30 on ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU)
-NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Tournament (May 13-29 on ESPN, ESPU, and ESPN+)
-PGA Championship (May 19-22 on ESPN and CBS)