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Review: ‘Five Nights At Freddy’s’

This One’s For The FNAF Fans
Joey Taylor
By Joey Taylor


Joey Taylor 

It would be an understatement to call “Five Nights at Freddy’s” a successful horror franchise. With eight games and a ninth on the way, 28 books and now a feature length film, this franchise has reshaped the horror genre.

So when I entered the movies Oct. 26, I expected the movie to be a peak horror masterpiece. I walked out of that theater immensely disappointed as a horror fan. The lack of scares and horror elements left me disappointed. 

However, after a second watch, I went in as a “Five Nights at Freddy’s” fan. I was blown away with each individual detail and visuals that were catered to the fans. I felt like I was 7 years old again when the first game came out, figuring out lore elements and enjoying the colorful characters on screen.

“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is sadly a poor horror movie, but it’s a phenomenal game-to-movie adaptation. Director Emma Tammi said it was made for the fans, and with that I agree. 

The movie followed Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson), a down-on-his-luck adult who dreams of his kidnapped little brother Garrett Schmidt every night. He was in a legal battle with his aunt, who wanted custody of his sister Abby Schmidt (portrayed by Piper Rubio). After he lost his job, he landed a job with low pay and horrible hours at an abandoned Pizzeria called “Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza Place,” where he was tasked to survive each night as the haunted animatronics attacked him.

 The movie had stunning visuals. Each animatronic character was colorful and dynamic, which captured the eerie essence of the characters in the games. The set was also done beautifully. Each shot immersed the viewer in the games. One of the most visually appealing scenes was when Mike first saw the animatronics perform. Their fluid and interesting motions really brought the movie together.

Speaking of Mike, the actors portrayed the characters perfectly. Josh Hutcherson portrayed the decaying hope of Mike’s character at the beginning of the movie as well as his urgency and sense of sorrow for his sister at the end. Piper Rubio was interesting to watch on screen as Abby despite this being her first major film. She portrayed her intelligence and her naivety throughout the movie. Even Matthew Lilard who played “Steve Raglan” (later revealed as “William Afton”), the main villain, mastered his creepy and condescending look. That is, if Matthew Lilard had any major screen time. 

William Afton was the main villain in the series. So when he showed up for less than 10 minutes, I was disappointed. With Matthew Lilard being a prominent horror actor, his most iconic role as Stu Macher in “Scream” (1996), I was expecting terrifying monologues with a sinister goofy tone and screams of anguish he’s known for. However, the writing on the little screen time he had was cheap and lackluster compared to the games and his past work. He showed the amount of insanity the character had with the little screen time, but it wasn’t enough to show the full range of his character.

The most interesting part for me, however, was the attention to detail to the legacy of the games. Every part of the film, from the set design elements to the characters’ clothing, was curated for the fans. Only longtime fans of the franchise would notice some of the details; like Sparky, an urban legend in “FNAF 1,” which fans speculated about a fifth dog animatronic along with the four main animatronic characters. 

Even the credits, when they played “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” a song made by The Living Tombstone back in 2014 for the game’s release. Every part was a nod for the fans.

“Five Nights at Freddy’s” was not a good horror movie by any means. It’s no “Psycho” or “The Exorcist,” but it’s a good “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie. This movie was for die hard fans who’ve been waiting eight years for this movie. It’s a fun, colorful, nostalgic trip for fans who’ll be satisfied at the end.

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