New addition to the ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ franchise leaves fans torn

Horror movie fans and gamers alike have been patiently waiting for the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” (FNaF) movie since it was teased back in 2015. Excitement increased when they learned Blumhouse Productions worked closely with the game’s creator Scott Cawthon during development. The movie released last Friday in theaters and the streaming platform Peacock, leaving fans underwhelmed and with mixed reviews.

The film is quite obviously modeled after the first game, though it incorporates lore that we learn in later additions to the franchise. In the first “FNaF” game, you play as an overnight security guard where you must watch over murderous roaming animatronics and do your best to keep them away until 6:00 a.m. If the robots get to you before your shift ends, you lose and presumably get stuffed into a spare Freddy Fazbear suit. 

The movie follows Josh Hutcherson as Mike Schmidt, who loses his job due to an aggressive outburst on-shift. This leads him to a career counselor with a name familiar to fans of the series, William Afton (Matthew Lillard). William offers Mike the night guard position at an abandoned Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, a family entertainment center similar to Chuck E. Cheese. Mike reluctantly accepts the job since he is the legal guardian of his younger sister Abby (Piper Rubio) and is in a custody battle with his money-hungry aunt.  

For the most part, the storyline sticks to its roots in what is canon in the first game while adding storylines to make it better adaptable to screen.

Mike goes on to learn that the supposedly dormant animatronics in the Pizzeria seem to have a life of their own as they are possessed by the souls of dead children. As the story progresses, we learn about Mike’s past, his brother’s disappearance, Abby’s psychic abilities and a suspicious police officer who regularly comes to check in on Mike’s shifts.

Now, I know that fans had high expectations for this film, as they know how dark the lore from the game can get. Many expected all the gore and horror elements that come with Blumhouse Productions paired with key details from the game, but that wasn’t the case, largely due to the PG-13 rating.

Despite this disappointment, the movie isn’t terrible when watched with the understanding that no adaptation could perfectly encapsulate all of the lore from nine games and more than 25 canon books. 

The film has plenty of strengths, one being how lifelike the animatronics are. More than seven appear in the film and were created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, which has a great reputation for making puppets. 

All of the robots’ moving parts were controlled by a team of puppeteers. Plenty of extra limbs were created for every animatronic incase of technical difficulties. These brilliant practical effects really helped bring these killer robots to life. 

On top of this, we see stellar performances by Hutcherson, Lillard, Elizabeth Lail and Mary Stuart Masterson. The film also features a few cameos from content creators who have been invested in the franchise since its early days. 

Overall, the plot was decent enough. A few instances were far-fetched, even for a franchise centered around killer animatronics possessed by dead children. For the most part, the storyline sticks to its roots in what is canon in the first game while adding storylines to make it better adaptable to screen.

The most prominent added plot is Mike’s. In the games, it is speculated that his father is the mastermind behind Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria and their animatronics. In the movie he is doing his best to stay afloat, keep custody of his sister — an added character — and find his brother, as well as identify the man who took him. 

That last part isn’t far off from his role in the game, but the circumstances are different. Truthfully, I don’t mind this change. It helps the movie wrap up nicely, but still ends on a cliffhanger that makes me want to know more about these new characters and how they fit into the larger picture. 

The movie is very cheesy since it is PG-13 and it is a little underwhelming considering all the hype it got, but I don’t think it’s terrible for what it is. It delivered to us what it realistically could and I’m not upset about it. 


3/5 Stars


Featured photo courtesy of @FNAFmovie, X