(1984)

Critic Reviews

50

Metascore

Based on 7 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
80
A good, stylish mixture of the kind of hokey horror and science-fiction elements in which Mr. King specializes.
63
Miami Herald
It's a ridiculous story to be sure, filled with holes and not remotely plausible, but director Mark L. Lester knows enough to keep the speed up, and the dumb stuff is flattened by action. It's the kind of movie in which the audience waits happily for the little heroine to be cornered by villains, all to cheer at the inevitable roast. Lester, at least, is stylish enough to get away with it. [12 May 1984, p.C1]
63
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Fortunately, he has an ace up his sleeve with 9-year-old actress Drew Barrymore: the movie might easily be retitled The Scene Stealer. Barrymore's performance as Charlie McGee has something of the pint-sized coquetry of a Shirley Temple, and something of the shoulders-back, chin- in-the-air hauteur of a Bette Davis, but she seems incapable of hitting a false, precocious or calculating note. She virtually acts her co-stars off the screen. [14 May 1984]
50
The most astonishing thing in the movie, however, is how boring it is.
50
Variety
Script by Stanley Mann is quite faithful to the Stephen King novel, but cinematically that loyalty is damaging. Picture's length can't sustain the material.
40
Time Out London
Lester manages to maintain a fair level of suspense, and he is greatly helped by Scott, giving his best performance in years as the demonic CIA man sporting a sneer and a pony tail, but King's supernatural ideas need a human focus or they seem nearly idiotic. And, unlike the central figures in Carrie or The Shining, the heroine of Firestarter is just a rather wet little girl who happens to throw fireballs.
20
Washington Post
Even before it begins laying waste to the reputations of cast members, Firestarter is promptly exposed as a derivative embarrassment of a conception. What could be better calculated to illustrate King's recent decline than a "new" thriller whose devices have been poorly cribbed and patched together from "Carrie" and "The Fury"? As a matter of fact, "Charlie's Fiery Fury" would be a catchier bad title than Firestarter.

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