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Starring: Zac Efron, Sydney Lemmon, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Michael Greyeyes, Kurtwood Smith, John Beasley, Gloria Reuben
OUR RATING: ★★☆☆☆
Blumhouse and Universal’s supernatural horror reboot directed by Keith Thomas. Firestarter (2022) follows parents Andy (Zac Efron) and Vicky (Sydney Lemmon), who for more than a decade have been on the run, desperate to hide their daughter, Charlie (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) from a shadowy federal agency that wants to harness her unprecedented gift for creating fire into a weapon of mass destruction. Andy has taught Charlie how to defuse her power, which is triggered by anger or pain. But as Charlie turns eleven, the fire becomes harder and harder to control. After an incident reveals the family’s location, a mysterious operative, John Rainbird (Michael Greyeyes) is deployed to hunt down the family and seize Charlie once and for all.
Our Favorite Quotes:'There are none so blind as those who will not see.' - Dr. Joseph Wanless (Firestarter) Click To Tweet
Charlie McGee: Daddy? Something feels weird. In my body.
Andy McGee: I think we should go talk to your mom about this. You know.
Charlie McGee: Not that thing. The other thing.
Andy McGee: The other thing.
Charlie McGee: The bad thing. Something’s changing.
Andy McGee: The bad thing, it’s been gone a long time. You’re strong, Charlie. So you don’t have to be afraid.
Dr. Joseph Wanless: Have you ever experienced any inexplicable phenomena that goes against natural law?
Andy McGee: I saw my parents die in a car wreck.
Dr. Joseph Wanless: I’m sorry to hear that. But what about that makes it inexplicable?
Andy McGee: I saw it a week before it actually happened.
Ms. Gardner: How is it going over here, Gavin?
Gavin: Weird girl killed our frog.
Charlie McGee: It was already dead.
Gavin: Yeah, but now it’s extra dead.
Charlie McGee: [as she’s trying to calm herself] Notebook. Pencil. Desk. Shoes. Paper. Eraser. Calculator.
Ms. Gardner: Everything okay, Charlie?
Charlie McGee: Yes, Ms. Gardner.
Charlie McGee: I don’t want to go to school.
Vicky McGee: We just want you to have a normal life.
Charlie McGee: I want stupid Wi-Fi. That’s normal.
Vicky McGee: That stuff rots your brains.
Charlie McGee: Do you really believe that?
Charlie McGee: It happened again. The bad thing. This boy made fun of me. He called me weird.
Vicky McGee: You’re not weird.
Charlie McGee: I’m worse.
Vicky McGee: No. No. You’re special. I knew it the day that you were born. You were warm and toasty like a buttery muffin.
Charlie McGee: Are you scared of me?
Vicky McGee: I could never be scared of you.
Vicky McGee: Our responsibility is getting her ready. Making her strong in case they come.
Andy McGee: Our responsibility is to protect her.
Vicky McGee: Training her is protecting her.
Andy McGee: Says the one who hates her power so much, she won’t even use it.
Vicky McGee: She’s not a robot. She’s a little girl. With little girl feelings and emotions, which are wildly unpredictable.
Andy McGee: It’s too dangerous. She just has to shove it down and keep it hidden. She did it before. She can do it again.
Principal Lewis: Does Charlie have a history of destructive behavior?
Andy McGee: No, of course not.
Principal Lewis: She’s been less than forthcoming about how she did it. What she used to cause the explosion.
Vicky McGee: Please don’t call it an explosion. It makes her sound like a terrorist.
Ms. Gardner: The bathroom stall exploded, ma’am. What would you like us to call it?
Vicky McGee: I don’t have your power. Okay? I can’t push her if she loses control.
Andy McGee: Well, I would never push my own kid. Our cover is blown, okay? If they catch her, they’re going to lock her away. They’re going to run tests on her for the rest of her life. They’re going to take her, they’re going to put her in a cage. We’ll never see her again, Vick. Who knows what’s going to happen to her?
Charlie McGee: [enters the room] If who catches me?
Andy McGee: Do you know why we have to move all the time?
Charlie McGee: Because of your work.
Andy McGee: But also because bad men are after us. Really bad. Because of the special things that we can do, the pushing and the fire. And if they catch us, they’re going to put us in jail.
Charlie McGee: But I ran to the bathroom so I wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Vicky McGee: That was the right thing to do, Charlie. That was right.
Charlie McGee: I tried to throw it in the water, but it didn’t work. And now we’re in trouble, and we’re going to jail, and it’s all my fault!
Vicky McGee: Just stay calm, sweetie. You’re okay.
Charlie McGee: I’m not okay. Stop saying that. And I’m not special! I’m a monster!
Vicky McGee: You are not a monster.
Andy McGee: You just need to calm down!
Charlie McGee: I’m a monster. I’m a monster.
Charlie McGee: I hate living like this!
Andy McGee: Tough luck, Charlie! This is who you are!
Vicky McGee: Please, Andy. Stop.
Charlie McGee: You made me this way.
Vicky McGee: Charlie, please!
Charlie McGee: I hate who I am, and I hate you!
[her power sets Vicky’s arms on fire]
Captain Hollister: [over phone] This is Captain Jane Hollister, DSI. I’m reactivating you, Rainbird. If that would be of interest. Of course it’s still the cleaning up other people’s s**t, just not literally.
Rainbird: I left that life.
Captain Hollister: Yeah, and how’s that working out for you?
Captain Hollister: Something’s happened, Rainbird, and I need it handled with discretion. I understand that was your specialty.
Rainbird: What is the target?
Captain Hollister: Something for which you are uniquely qualified. But unlike the others, I need this quarry back alive. Is that something you can handle?
'When you hurt people, you don't just hurt them. It hurts everyone around them. You don't come back from that. Not ever.' - Andy McGee (Firestarter) Click To Tweet
Andy McGee: We have no idea what’s happening when I’m going into those people’s minds, moving things around. Why would you ever want me to do that to Charlie? What if I mess her up?
Vicky McGee: And if she kills one of us?
Andy McGee: Don’t f***ing go there.
Vicky McGee: [to Andy] This is what happens when you stuff it down. It doesn’t go away.
Rainbird: [to Vicky] Did you think you were unique? Before they tested their poison on pretty, young coeds, they had to use lab rats. And you’re out of practice.
Vicky McGee: How could you work for them? Help them after what they did to you?
Rainbird: Come peacefully, and you’ll live.
Vicky McGee: I will die before I let them have her.
Rainbird: Your life, to them, is a secondary concern.
Vicky McGee: And yours?
Vicky McGee: [to Rainbird, referring to Charlie] When you see her, you’ll understand. And you will regret.
Charlie McGee: Do you think she’ll forgive me?
Andy McGee: Well, she’s your mom. She’ll always forgive you. No matter what.
Charlie McGee: It was supposed to be you.
Rainbird: [as he’s holding Charlie at knife point] No one gets hurt.
Andy McGee: Let her go.
Rainbird: You know what it costs, don’t you? To hurt someone. To take a life. Would you ask that of your own child?
Andy McGee: [as the room starts to get hot] Do you feel that? Let her go, or it’s going to get a lot worse.
Charlie McGee: Where’s Mommy?
Rainbird: She has no aim without sight if she’s like the rest of us.
Andy McGee: Where’s my wife?
Charlie McGee: Where’s Mommy?
Andy McGee: I don’t know, sweetheart.
Rainbird: Yes, you do. Where’s Mommy?! Tell me now!
[suddenly Vicky’s dead body falls out of the closet]
Dr. Joseph Wanless: I made calls to your predecessor. They went unanswered. But now they stuff a new face into the same old suit, and that face just comes knocking on my door!
Captain Hollister: With all due respect, Doctor, Captain McConnell doesn’t have the legs for this outfit.
Dr. Joseph Wanless: Completely oblivious to the dire nature of the situation we’ve created!
Charlie McGee: [referring to the cat she set on fire] I really didn’t mean to.
Andy McGee: I know you didn’t. I know. This is what it costs though. Because it can’t be a reaction like that. It’s got to be a decision. That’s the only way you can control it.
Captain Hollister: [referring to Charlie] I want to help her.
Dr. Joseph Wanless: You want to use her.
Captain Hollister: The girl, she can’t help what she is. The poor thing, she’s been brain-f***ed from birth. This is a chance to turn a past failure into present success.
Dr. Joseph Wanless: The girl’s power is in its infancy. Terrible, yes, but trivial compared to what’s coming. But she’s growing, our little girl. She’s becoming a young woman. And someday soon, the power will grow too. Perhaps it already has. And then, one day, she may be capable of creating a nuclear explosion, simply with the force of her mind.
Captain Hollister: We can teach her. We can train her.
Dr. Joseph Wanless: You can exploit her.
Captain Hollister: Don’t you lecture me on morality. You developed Lot Six. You gave it to those kids.
Dr. Joseph Wanless: And it was a mistake!
Captain Hollister: Well, that’s too f***ing bad! It’s done!
Captain Hollister: We’re not going to clone her. We’re not going to make a little army of Charlies. We just, we want to understand her. She’s the first of her kind. And no one understands her better than you, the man who made the serum. You’re the father of it all. What do you say?
Dr. Joseph Wanless: There are none so blind as those who will not see.
Captain Hollister: What?
Dr. Joseph Wanless: Heed my words, very carefully. Terminate the girl, or one day she will destroy us all. Do you hear me? Terminate her.
Andy McGee: [to Charlie] You know what Mom wanted you to learn more than anything in the world? She wanted you to learn to use your power. Because it’s incredible. And I bet if you have her powers, you probably have mine too.
Andy McGee: If you do it too much, it’ll really hurt you.
Charlie McGee: But I don’t feel the heat when it happens.
Andy McGee: It hurts you on the inside, I mean.
Charlie McGee: Actually, it feels kind of good.
Irv Manders: The whole world going to hell.
Charlie McGee: Will they find us?
Andy McGee: You let me worry about that. The most important thing we can do is just keep running.
Charlie McGee: If they do, I can hurt them. I’ll only hurt bad people, I promise.
Andy McGee: When you hurt people, you don’t just hurt them. It hurts everyone around them. You don’t come back from that. Not ever. Okay, promise me that you’ll never use your gifts to hurt people. Promise?
Charlie McGee: Promise.
Irv Manders: [after seeing the news about Andy on TV] Coming in my house, eating my food, drink my beer, and all the time, you were a goddamn wife killer!
Andy McGee: I didn’t kill her. Does my daughter seem upset with me in any way? Does she seem scared of me? I’m trying to protect her. I’m trying to protect her from them.
Irv Manders: You telling me I can’t trust the TV?
Andy McGee: Shocker, I know.
Andy McGee: Charlie, do you remember what I taught you?
Charlie McGee: Keep running.
Andy McGee: Yeah.
Charlie McGee: I love you, Daddy.
Andy McGee: I love you too, sweetheart. Now, run. Run!
Rainbird: They will never stop until they have her.
Andy McGee: You’ll never catch her.
Captain Hollister: You lost her, Rainbird. You left a trail of dead cops in your wake. You call that discretion?
Rainbird: You have the father.
Captain Hollister: So she’s just going to what? She’s going to feel her way here?
Rainbird: They are connected. She will come for him.
Captain Hollister: Retirement has made you sloppy and soft.
Rainbird: Is that why you blindfold me? I don’t need to see your eyes to feel your fear.
Captain Hollister: You don’t know what I feel.
Rainbird: She will come for him. She will come for us all.
Captain Hollister: Well, you killed her mother. She will be your death.
Rainbird: A fate which I deserve. When you see her, you will understand.
Andy McGee: Charlie? Why are you here?
Charlie McGee: I came. I got your message.
Andy McGee: That wasn’t me, Charlie. I would never bring you here. That wasn’t me.
Charlie McGee: But I can get you out.
Andy McGee: No. No, Charlie. There’s no getting out. There’s no getting out for me.
Captain Hollister: [to Charlie] It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Wasn’t supposed to be this difficult. Stay calm, dear. If you try to burn me, you’ll burn your daddy too.
Captain Hollister: You’re a very determined young lady. Use it wisely, it’ll take you far in this life. I should know.
Charlie McGee: You do bad things here. I can feel it.
Captain Hollister: No, we do great things. We make things better here. We make people better. We make them stronger, people like you. Haven’t you realized? You are a real-life superhero.
Captain Hollister: [to Charlie] You’re very special. The world out there, they don’t know how to handle your power. Here, we can handle it. Because we made you.
Charlie McGee: I don’t want to hurt anyone.
Andy McGee: I know you don’t, honey. I know. But we can’t run anymore. I need you to break your promise.
Charlie McGee: Daddy.
Andy McGee: You have to burn it down, starting with us.
Andy McGee: [to Charlie] I’m sorry to make you do this. Burn it all down. It’s the only way.
Captain Hollister: Easy. Easy. Burn me, you burn him too.
[Charlie then uses her power to burn Andy and Hollister]
Charlie McGee: [as she’s about to set a woman on fire] Liar, liar, pants on fire.