Five Nights At Freddy’s
We sit down and review Five Nights At Freddy’s. The film based on the killer animatronic video games is finally here. Here is our review of the Five Nights At Freddy’s movie
The time has come and we need to be ready to take on our shift with the Five Nights At Freddy’s movie. The film based on the popular video game of the same name that Blumhouse has helped to bring to life in theaters and on Peacock streaming. Just in time for Halloween on October 27th. The big question is now, is it what everyone was hoping for and should you give it your time and money? Well, that is what we are here to cover today with our review of the Five Nights At Freddy’s film. Grab some popcorn or your favorite snack and get ready for us to dive in. You might be a little surprised with what we have to say… or it might be what you think we might have to say for it all.
The main story of Five Nights At Freddy’s revolves around our protagonist Mike. He is a security guard who is a little down on his luck and needs to fill some time with another job. Thankfully, there just happens to be an eccentric person out there who is looking to keep their nostalgia in top order by keeping Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza in some kind of repair. This would be something like a defunct Chuck E Cheese for those who do not know anything about Five Nights At Freddy’s. Unfortunately for Mike, the robots inside are not as fun as some might remember but just as creepy and killer as others might. Mike will now need to make it through his shifts so he can score those mediocre paychecks out there.
Right out of the gate, and I know this is going to cause many fans of Five Nights At Freddy’s to have some issues, the film lays in HARD with the references and Easter Eggs out the gate. This was to be expected given the popularity of the IP and everything, but some will leave your average moviegoer completely baffled when it comes to full scenes if they have not played all of the games or watched so many hours of YouTubers covering Five Nights At Freddy’s. Even when one of my favorite creators came on the screen, I was excited to see them get their time in the sun, but for the narrative of the film, it made little sense. It was only there to have them drop their catchphrase and move on. I get having these fun little nods in a film, but when it removes the basic audience from the story so much, was it really worth it? Many members of the audience had to talk over the rest of the scene to explain to others why some of these people were even there. All of which pulled me out of the experience to wonder if there was even a point beyond exposition and fan service.
Dovetailing from that, outside of the cameos of creators out there for Five Nights At Freddy’s, came all of the other little bits that felt forced in when it came to characters and elements from the game. They looked nice but were less of an Easter Egg and more of Memberberries. Do I know who Balloon Boy is and why having a little statue of them in random places in the film was a fun thing? Sure. Did they need to lean into it so much that it felt like there was some bigger point to the overall narrative of it all? No. That is only one example that is not much of a spoiler for the story of the movie. These little things were all over the Five Nights At Freddy’s movie and felt like they were so out of place unless you were the biggest of fans of all of the IP. Great for the small audience, but another bit that will make a casual fan or basic horror movie fan scratch their head at only to be upset when it never comes back in again.
Lastly, which kind of digs into the other issues for Five Nights At Freddy’s above, the main story of it all never felt like it truly connected to the main one in the IP here. Yes, that is vague and to keep it as spoiler-free as possible. The closest I can say is that there is no real rhyme or reason that Mike is fully set up to have the job in a good way. The villain(s) just kind of do it because and the other links are a bit of an afterthought instead. There is all manner of build-up to make us think that there is a bigger reason Mike is in the mix, but it all boils down to it could have been any other person in the Five Nights At Freddy’s universe that was pulled in. Sure, there are some links, but they would require a lot of coincidence planning to have it happen in any real way. I know that is a staple in the IP, but for a film in general, it will leave the audience wondering and confused more than the diehard fans when a new book drops a new name out of the blue.
Gods, when the script left the fan service behind and let the actors actually act, Five Nights At Freddy’s truly does shine. By that I mean, that half of the film is some truly great writing and performances needed to be given. To the level that one would not normally expect in a comedy horror movie. Mathew Lillard and Josh Hutcherson crushed it and offered some next-level performances when it was not about how do we try to link another fan service in. The creepy kids hit the mark perfectly and the supporting cast was also able to give it their all. Five Nights At Freddy’s had some amazing story beats in the mix and I only wish we could have had more of that. While half of the film felt like it was just handholding the fans of the IP through the story, the other half was actually offering up something truly amazing and with each of the new and old characters coming to life better than we have seen out there in the IP.
Something that I know many have griped on about for Five Nights At Freddy’s was the PG-13 rating or the like in the other markets. I know many, myself included, thought this was going to be done so they could hit the mass audiences and audiences that most likely should not be playing the content in the first place. Thankfully, it goes by completely unnoticed in the film. By that, the is no need for language or nudity that would normally raise this up. When it comes to the violence and “gore”, the true thing I love here, Five Nights At Freddy’s handles it so well and off-screen that we as the audience do not need to see it to truly appreciate it. In fact, I think that if the film did go for the R-rating, it would have ruined the fun of it all. This is a sign of true craftsmanship when the implied violence in a good scene is better than the over-the-top we could have had. It might have actually led to them being a little creepier at the end of the day too.
This all brings me to my last big love for Five Nights At Freddy’s. The animatronics, suits, and puppets that were made for this movie are truly next level. I did not expect less from the Jim Henson Company, but it was something that might not have stuck the landing if it had gone to another firm. I was a little worried we would get something different in design and not something close to the video game versions. At least originally before we had a chance to see them in person. That only made me worried that they would look too goofy in the film. All of those worries went away and were golden examples again of how to make things work in a film. Yes, the Five Nights At Freddy’s characters looked like they could be nice and cuddly. Which made it all the more terrifying when they would turn and be creepy. Hats off to the puppeteers and actors that brought them all to life. It elevates the movie so much more to have that stick the landing and compliment the live actor’s performances just a bit more.
I was excited to see how Five Nights At Freddy’s was going to play out in full after the trailers and behind-the-scenes videos we have had. Even as a casual fan that takes in very little of the FNaF content others create. Those who have little knowledge of the IP beforehand are going to have a mixed experience with how heavily they lean into the fan service of it all. As long as they can stick around to the points where the other writers, actors, and puppeteers get to show off their skills, then they will leave the movie fully entertained. Even those that do not normally do horror movies can have a good time with it all given that they do not lean into the heavier aspects that would frighten some. If you are a fan of Five Nights At Freddy’s, you probably are already trying to see how you can see this film before it releases and will certainly have a good time with all of the bits added in. They did say it was made for the fans after all. That does shine through, even if it is a detriment for anyone looking to have the best film experience without being the biggest fan from the start.
I give Five Nights At Freddy’s 3 Dead Kids on the Dead Kid scale.
Five Nights At Freddy’s was produced by Blumhouse and in theaters and streaming on Peacock October 27th. I was invited to an early screening of the film for the media as well as the general audience for this.