Firestarter Trailer: Remake Of Classic Stephen King Story Is A Danger Illustrated
This week, Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures released the first trailer for Firestarter, their remake (reboot?) of the 1984 film. Of course, the iconic 1980s young Drew Barrymore vehicle was an adaptation of a Stephen King book. Lots of King’s stories have multiple adaptations, from The Stand to The Shining. Let’s take a look at it and see what we can use to speculate wildly about our expectations.
Film an Adaptation of Stephen King’s Firestarter, as a Remake…or Reboot
Before we watch the Firestarter trailer and form a lot of opinions, let’s get the silliest part out of the way. I’ve seen descriptions of this film, including on this very site, that label this new Firestarter either as a remake or a reboot. Frankly, at this point, I’m not sure I know the difference. I’m also not sure if there even is one anymore. In any case, there’s no real answer, as far as I can tell. By that, I mean that the best answer is usually from the source. However, the official website refers to it only as a “new adaptation.”
image via Universal Pictures
And in case you didn’t know, it’s an adaptation of a 1980 book by New England scribe Stephen King. It’s one of his books that isn’t straight horror, kind of like Billy Summers. This one, instead, is a blend of horror and science-fiction. It focuses mainly on father Andy McGee and his daughter Charlie. In college, Andy and his wife Victoria, had been test subjects in what you could call a drug trial.
But really, the government agency running the trial dosed them with LSD to see what would happen. And if that sounds far-fetched, it’s not. That was a thing that the CIA, for instance, did. If you’d like to learn more, then you should check out Last Podcast on the Left‘s current series on the program the Agency called MK-Ultra. Or you can read a more serious source, I don’t care.
And it wasn’t as lackadaisical as I’m making it sound. The CIA was interested in the possibility of mind control. You know, Cold War stuff. In the book, it means that the experiments left Andy and Victoria with “tele” powers, like telekinesis and telepathy. Then they have a baby together and guess what kind of power she has? Hint: It’s in the title of the story/movies. That’s right, pyrokinesis. Gosh, I bet the government would have no use for that.
Firestarter Trailer Shows a Story Familiar to Modern Audiences
I had one immediate reaction to the Firestarter trailer, besides the weird sensation from seeing Zac Efron play someone’s dad. (He plays Andy, by the way.) The way Andy and Victoria (Sydney Lemmon, whom you might recognize from Helstrom) talk about little Charlie’s (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) powers is recognizable. They talk about them the same way we’ve heard characters in other movies talk. Specifically, movies about characters, usually young ones, learning to control their abilities. So, while this trailer presents a remake of Firestarter, Blumhouse is framing this film the way the biggest franchises from Marvel or DC often does.
image via Universal Pictures
Specifically, I am thinking of characters like those in the extended X-Men universe. This is a trope common to a lot of different stories and character types. It’s not surprising. What was surprising to me, though, is the way this story leans into that feeling. By that, I mean that Gloria Reuben’s character refers to Charlie as “a real-life superhero.” That may be an idea that’s already baked into the original story, but it’s also one that seems specially included to appeal to modern audiences.
The rest of the trailer looks great, but it doesn’t reveal a whole lot. I mean, beyond what you could already guess if you had even the most basic knowledge of stories. The secret of Charlie’s power gets out, which forces her and her father to go on the run. Charlie struggles with this, along with struggling to accept her unique talents. She just wants to be a regular little girl, but fate and hallucinogens had different plans for her. And you can see all that for yourself in the trailer below.
Firestarter will be in theaters and on Peacock on May 13, 2022.
Michael Greyeyes appears as Rainbird, while Kurtwood Smith is also in the film, playing an as yet unnamed role.
What do you think of the Firestarter trailer, can the remake hold up to the original in your mind? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below or on social media.
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at [email protected]