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Stephen King's novel not only concerns that most awkward of all combinations, the CIA and paranormal psychology, it has the episodic quality that is a hallmark of King's less filmable fiction. Barrymore (the sister in ET) plays a girl with telekinetic powers who is eventually captured and shoved into a government laboratory. 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.

Release details

Duration: 114 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Mark L Lester
Screenwriter: Stanley Mann
Cast: David Keith
Drew Barrymore
Freddie Jones
Heather Locklear
Martin Sheen
George C Scott
Art Carney
Louise Fletcher
Moses Gunn
Antonio Fargas