Five Nights at Freddy’s Review

FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY’S, from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse in association with Striker Entertainment.

Growing up there were two pizza places that you wanted to have your birthday party at: Showbiz Pizza Place and Chuck E. Cheese. While the arcade games were always fun to play the big draw were the characters themselves. Seeing the band pop up from behind the curtain and perform a song was always a lot of fun. I do admit that as a kid I would wonder what they did once everyone left the restaurant and maybe this movie gives us a hint.

Five Nights at Freddy’s the game was created by Scott Cawthon and came out in 2014. The games all center around a nighttime security guard who tries to survive the night and make it to the end of their shift at 6 AM. There are a lot of jump scares in the game and that is the main attraction of it. Scary angles and POVs pull the gamer into the universe of Five Nights at Freddy’s and this is perfectly carried into the movie. Yes, there are moments in the movie that make you feel like you are playing the game but let’s get into the movie before going any further.

The movie centers on Mike Schmidt, played by Josh Hutcherson, who had a traumatic incident happen in his childhood that still impacts him to this day. When Mike was a kid he witnessed his younger brother get kidnapped. He feels survivor guilt for not being able to assist and this has prevented him from keeping a normal job for more than a few weeks. Mike lives with his younger sister Abby, played by Piper Rubio, who has some issues and speaks to imaginary people. Mike’s aunt, Jan, played by Mary Stuart Masterson, is trying to get custody of Abby, and Mike does not want that to happen. This side story isn’t really developed and feels tacked on to put more on the plate of Mike.

(from left) Foxy, Chica, Freddy Fazbear and Bonnie in Five Nights at Freddy’s, directed by Emma Tammi.

Mike’s career counselor, Steve Raglan, Matthew Lillard in a fun role, is trying to help Mike and presents him with a job as a security guard at the infamous, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. Steve tells Mike the story about the pizza place, the owner’s love for it, and why it is still around even though it’s been closed for years. Mike is hesitant to take the job because it is at night but ends up taking it after realizing it’s his last resort to make a better life for Abby.

Here is where the movie gets a little strange. We are introduced to the characters from Freddy’s and through Mike’s dream we find out a little more about them. We also meet police officer Vanessa Monroe, played by Elizabeth Lail, who somehow knows all about the characters and what they do when no one is around. Being that I never played the games I am not sure how accurate this is or if it was just added to flesh out the story of Freddy and his friends. I do know that Vanessa is a character in the game but is a little more sinister than the one we see in the movie.

I will say that the animatronics shine in this movie and this is in part to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. They have created some incredible life-size replicas of Freddy, Chica with Mr. Cupcake, Bonnie & and Foxy! They look so lived in that you would think that they have been housed in the restaurant for many years. Seeing them walk around is pretty creepy because their walk is reminiscent of seeing a zombie walk after you. I did like how they did not show them as much during some of the attacks but when they are front and center it kind of takes the evil away from them.

As previously mentioned, we find out through Mike’s dream the reasoning behind Freddy and his friends being alive and it feels that there should be more to it than the explanation we received. The big bad is revealed in a twist that I kind of saw and a showdown takes place for the soul of Abby. This showdown feels a bit rushed and leaves us with more questions than answers. We do see a pretty gruesome kill during the final scene and while what is happening looks painful, the audience sees it via quick images that still look gruesome.

Five Nights at Freddy’s could have gone a darker route but for its first on-screen showing, it’s understood why they tamed the violence. The fanbase for these games is huge and probably many kids under 13 love playing these games. So making the rating PG 13 is smart to get these younger viewers in seats. Hopefully, this series will continue and get darker with each version that is released on screen. If you’re not a big fan of the series remember you can stream it on Peacock and save yourself a few bucks.

Final Thoughts: Five Nights at Freddy’s is a fun time that is not all that scary. While the fans of the game will enjoy the easter eggs and cameos, those unfamiliar with the games might find the movie just okay. The film’s main villain is not really the animatronics used but childhood trauma. While it sounds strange it kind of makes sense when you see the movie. Five Nights at Freddy’s is a fun first-scary movie for younger children but will leave horror fans wanting more. Stay during the credits for a hidden message or highlight the following sentence to see what is it. The hidden message says: Come Find Me

Kid-Friendly: Freddy’s is rated PG-13, and some curse words are said in the movie. If your children are familiar with the FNAF storyline they will enjoy the movie. My son had a blast and was not scared by the characters or the jump scares.

Violence: Being that this is a FNAF movie there are some moments that involve kills. While the kills are not shown on the screen your mind will help you fill in the gaps. We do see the aftermath of some of the kills but they are quick cuts that really don’t show much. Anxiety levels are raised due to the tension in some of the kills.

Can you survive five nights?

The terrifying horror game phenomenon becomes a blood-chilling cinematic event, as Blumhouse— the producer of M3GAN, The Black Phone and The Invisible Man— brings Five Nights at Freddy’s to the big screen.
The film follows a troubled security guard as he begins working at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. While spending his first night on the job, he realizes the night shift at Freddy’s won’t be so easy to make it through.

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