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‘Firestarter’ Review: They’re Remaking THIS? Zac Efron Stars in a Stephen King Rehash That Does Not Burn Brightly

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Owen Gleiberman Chief Film CriticIn the ’70s and early ’80s, the era that defined him, Stephen King came up with a whole lot of horror-story metaphors for anger.

There was Carrie, the angry telekinetic nerd-turned-pranked-prom-demon, and Christine the angry car, and Cujo the angry dog, and the novel that was the greatest of King’s rage mythologies — “The Shining,” published in 1977, which was all about the hidden anger of middle-class men, with the frustrated aspiring writer Jack Torrance (not a domestic abuser but the sort of man who would have a few drinks and then yank his son’s arm too forcefully) standing in for what was at the time a new awareness of the ideology of masculine fury.

Jack Torrance was a portrait in the self-justifying nature of toxic male anger, which is why the gothic tale of his descent still resonates.

And then there’s “Firestarter.” It was a novel about a girl with the power — and the anger — of pyrokinesis. Yet unlike Carrie or Jack Torrance or the other protagonists of King’s best novels, Charlene “Charlie” McGee doesn’t have something grandly deep and meaningful to be angry about.

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