1984 / 114 min. / 14A
Director: Mark L. Lester
Cast: Drew Barrymore, David Keith, Martin Sheen, George C. Scott

No Future presents: FIRESTARTER

PRE-SHOW: 7:30 p.m.

FILM: 8 p.m.

Drew Barrymore finds her inner demon in FIRESTARTER, Mark L. Lester’s underrated Stephen King adaptation about a girl with pyro-kinetic powers fleeing the shady government agency that made her. King’s 1980 novel returns to the hallowed grounds of his debut CARRIE, this time with a fresh-faced adolescent instead of a teenaged wallflower, and a critical detachment from the ‘70s penchant for alternative societies and LSD culture. King’s look at how the previous decade’s utopianism and drug experimentation have curdled into a world where ex-hippies and their kids are hunted by the systems they once rebelled against is faithfully recreated by Lester, who invests this paranoid story about how children can never be too trusting of the state that watches over them with the air of a conspiracy thriller.

Though Lester’s straight-laced approach makes him the anti-De Palma, FIRESTARTER makes up in tension and spectacle what it sometimes lacks in directorial panache. The film’s cool synth score, courtesy of Tangerine Dream, and images of denim-clad, curly-haired, all-American innocents lighting out for the countryside with police cruisers in hot pursuit have resonated in pop hits like STRANGER THINGS. If the first act can feel like an elaborate set-up to watching the sweet kid from E.T. set a bunch of faceless suits on fire, let it be said that FIRESTARTER, in true ‘80s fashion, delivers on the pyrotechnics.

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