Five Nights At Freddy's Review

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Plot: A troubled security guard begins working at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. During his first night on the job, he realises that the night shift won't be so easy to get through. Pretty soon he will unveil what actually happened at Freddy's.

Film: Five Nights At Freddy's

Director: Emma Tammi

Writers: Scott Cawthon, Seth Cuddeback, Emma Tammi

Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Matthew Lillard, Piper Rubio, Elizabeth Lail

When it was announced that there was going to be a Five Nights At Freddy’s movie, I think a lot of people were hesitant. This is a gaming franchise that has spanned nearly a decade, multiple generations and has very different target audiences. If you know the game series, you’ll likely associate it with something children like to watch on YouTube, but FNAF is a phenomenon that came into popularity nine years ago, the children who watched it then, and who are going to see this film now, are in their twenties and are much harder to please.

For the most part I enjoyed this film, the nods to the game series in this instalment and set up for the future as we are to believe that this is film one of a trilogy. The inclusion of YouTubers who helped make the game the success it is was a nice touch, though some are most notably and disappointingly absent. The casting is one of the films strongest elements. Josh Hutcherson is always a welcome addition to a franchise, you’re rooting for his character Mike who is the primary caregiver of his little sister Abby, and the there’s Matthew Lillard getting to play a villain again, what more could you want? In one scene he really embodies his previous role of Stu Macher from Scream and the horror fan in me was very happy.

Where the film falls flat is the lack of danger, you never feel like Mike is in any real danger, constantly falling asleep on the job as security at Freddy Fazbears pizzeria and if you’ve seen the game played or had a go yourself, you’ll know that if you’re not watching the animatronics, you won’t survive the night. Scott Cawthon, the original creator of Five Nights At Freddy’s, who is the executive producer of the film, takes the story in a less obvious direction and focuses more on the lore of the games, rather than being a slasher film -which is a shame because Blumhouse have produced a lot of my favourite slashers from the last few years.

If FNAF truly is to be a trilogy, then having already revealed the true villain of the franchise was a bold move as he is only briefly mentioned and alluded to in the early games, ultimately I think this is where some of the pacing issues lie. The ending to the film feels very rushed, we get a taste of danger when The Yellow Rabbit appears but at that point we only have twenty minutes of runtime left -we needed more.

In many ways this film is a fan-service. Using iconic lines and imagery to play to the nostalgia of long-time fans that will no doubt alienate any potential new ones. It’s fun but has too few jump scares for a film based on a game that utilises them perfectly. Full of heart but needed more bite. 

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