Five Nights at Freddy’s REVIEW – Rusty and Unbearable
Based on the horror game franchise by Scott Cawthon, Five Nights at Freddy’s follows Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson), a young man haunted by his past and struggling to look after his sister (Piper Rubio). With limited options, he takes up a position as a security guard at an abandoned pizzeria. But as he settles into his work, he begins to learn that there may be more to his job than simply keeping an eye on this old business and its ageing animatronics.
When Cawthon first released the indie game Five Nights at Freddy’s in 2014, it took the internet by storm. The franchise has only continued to grow, with fans of the horror franchise eager to see a movie adaptation of the beloved survival horror series. However, not even a star-studded cast nor the original game’s creator being a producer could have saved this movie, which is a shame. From the cameos from FNAF content creators like MatPat from Game Theory and CoryxKenshin to the faithful recreations of the animatronics, it is clear that a lot of love and passion was behind this project.
There are a couple of rare moments when horror and even comedy shine through, like when a bunch of vandals break into the pizzeria only to be hunted down by the animatronics. However, instead of capitalizing on the animatronics being scary, the rest of the movie is bogged down by its story about a supernatural investigation involving the protagonist’s brother, making it feel like a different movie with the FNAF name haphazardly attached to it.
Five Nights at Freddy’s isn’t going to be enjoyable for the majority of fans. Sure, there may be different references and the previously mentioned cameos, but aside from that, it forces a story that fans had to piece together over years of several game instalments into an easily digestible paint-by-numbers story. It’s not even a good movie for horror fans unfamiliar with the franchise either. There are a couple of times when the movie works well at creating an atmosphere of tension through the soundscape. The rest of the time, however, it only really uses jump scares to try and be scary. While that is something that the original games are known for as well, they still feel lazy. The original games were still able to create a feeling of tension and dread, something that the movie does meagerly.
After years of waiting for a FNAF movie to come out, the final film was an overwhelming disappointment. While Cawthon’s idea of turning pizzeria animatronics into horror monsters may have worked well in a game, it might’ve translated to the big screen if the film wasn’t so tonally all over the place, trying to juggle serious themes of childhood trauma, while in the same vein trying to be goofy. The plot is incredibly dull, and if the creators had cut out the whole plot of Mike looking for the man who took his brother and focused more on the horror aspect, the movie would have probably performed much better.
If you want a more worthwhile horror film about animatronics, Willy’s Wonderland is a much better way to spend your time. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and is ridiculously funny. Meanwhile, Five Nights at Freddy’s tries to go for a serious story and fails immensely.
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Five Nights at Freddy’s is just another poor video game adaptation for the garbage pile.
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