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The One-Line Summary: After participating in a university experiment involving a drug called LOT-6, Andrew (David Keith) and Vicky (Heather Locklear) McGee gain abnormal powers such as reading minds and manipulating people’s thoughts, though it’s their daughter Charlene (Drew Barrymore), born after, who possesses the greatest most devastating gift as she learns to create and control fire at will, leading the agency that began the procedures to hunt her down for use as a military-grade weapon.
The Two-Line Blurb: Adapted from Stephen King‘s novel of the same name, this disappointing horror movie directed by Mark L. Lester has a great cast who work hard to bring a tired and clunky script to life, but can’t elevate it out of dull direction, awkward dialog and a story that never feels convincing. Young Barrymore, following her star-making turn in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1981), is hopelessly one-dimensional, given no chance to be anything but a plot contrivance who stares wide-eyed and angry at everyone as things burst into flame.
The Three-Line Set-up: This moment is about the rage within and begins when the members of the secret organization called The Shop, officially, the Department of Scientific Intelligence, murder Vicky and kidnap Charlene in order to harness her powers and train her to use it for the government. Her father is able to rescue her by using his own powers to blind her captors, taking her and going into hiding and constantly staying on the move, though his mistake is in trying tip off the media to their plight, which gets The Shop back on their trail. They are eventually recaptured and separated, where the head of the department, Captain Hollister (Martin Sheen) forces little ‘Charlie’ to undergo tests to evaluate and gage the strength and control of her abilities to conjure fire.
The Four-Line Moment: As Andrew remains locked away, Charlie’s incredible power grows at an alarming rate, not only proving that she can ignite just about anything, but keenly raising interest in her use as a viable tool for the military. In this latest experiment, she is tasked with trying to set a wall of cinder blocks aflame, putting her in a sealed chamber with a number of elaborate measuring devices and temperature gauges. As she curls her fingers and her hair whips up (a concurrent effect of the power), she concentrates on the blocks and soon a swirl of smoke coils up from the wall, followed soon after by torrents of fire and heat that burn nearly everything in the room before the place explodes in an inferno. She then turns to the men, cowering behind the protective glass that she wants to see her father, and the implication is not to be misunderstood.
The Five-Word Review: Feels like a TV movie.
(novel), Stanley Mann