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Firestarter Reviews

Fans of author King will enjoy this pyromaniacal suspense film more than anyone else. The picture begins with a flashback in which Locklear and Keith, collegians, subject themselves to a drug experiment under what they believe to be controlled circumstances. They experience no apparent side effects at that point, but later their daughter (Barrymore) demonstrates the rare ability, at an early age, to "will" a blaze into existence. The original experiments were overseen by the DSI (Department of Scientific Intelligence), a CIA-type agency that decides to nab the girl for further tests, disposing of her and her father (they are the only remaining proof of the heinous drug experimentation, Locklear having died in the meantime) when they have found out all they need to know. Once Keith learns that he and his child are being sought, the chase that forms the structural spine of the movie begins. The movie stays close to King's novel, and the special effects are good. Things go flat, however, in Lester's direction of the actors. He's always been better with effects, hardware, and anything else inanimate than with plumbing the personal depths.