Freddy and his friends standing in a line

Five Nights at Freddy’s

January 3, 2024
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I’m all for bringing video game franchises into the movie space, but I’m just not entirely sure this is a great example of what the medium change has to offer Hollywood.

Based on the popular video game series of the same name, Five Nights at Freddy’s follows Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson), our down-on-his-luck protagonist who is trying his best to make ends meet not only for himself but for his little sister, whom he’s struggling to keep custody of. A predicament that eventually leads Mike to take a security job at a local abandoned pizzeria and Chuck E. Cheese knockoff called Freddy Fazbear’s, it isn’t long before the animatronic mascots of the restaurant come to life, putting Mike right in the middle of a terrifying situation that he quickly realizes is far too much to handle on his own.

Though this movie isn’t without its flaws (more on that later), I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the attempt at quality filmmaking put on display here. Cast solidly enough with Hutcherson in the lead and helped along by the always great Matthew Lillard, this film did just enough to keep me entertained with its oddly competent direction and, at times, somewhat respectable scares. Not always an engaging watch, yet not necessarily a boring one, I kept going back and forth with how I felt about this one, mostly wanting it to be better than it was but also weirdly accepting of what I got. And for as fun as the movie was in spots, specifically where the animatronic effects are concerned, its issues are fairly obvious and are problems that eventually turn this into something that’s well below average.

Not only does the PG-13 hamstring a premise that in all actuality is pretty damn terrifying, but since it’s also based on a gaming franchise that has no real plot to speak of, and Five Nights at Freddy’s was never going to be the creative success it wanted to be nor come close to holding a candle to the more successful video game to movie franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog or The Super Mario Bros Movie. With a script that feels padded yet thin at the same time, fewer scares than I expected and hoped for, even considering the limits of the PG-13 rating, and a plot and main character arc that gets repetitive quickly, it’s probably best to only pay attention to the scenes featuring the nightmare fuel that is Freddy and his friends and then proceed to check out for everything else.

Is this movie good? Not particularly. Is it scary? Not really. Did I enjoy it? Probably not as much as fans of the games will. But weirdly enough, I didn’t mind the experience. Five Nights at Freddy’s isn’t for everyone — and it isn’t meant to be — but there’s enough fun and entertainment to be had here that makes it a below-average watch, to be sure, but not an outright terrible one. Besides, the fans in the audience seemed pleased with how everything turned out by the time the credits rolled, and at the end of the day, that matters most where movies like these are concerned.

I’m all for bringing video game franchises into the movie space, but I’m just not entirely sure this is a great example of what the medium change has to offer Hollywood. Based on the popular video game series of the same name, Five Nights at Freddy’s follows Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson), our down-on-his-luck protagonist who is trying his best to make ends meet not only for himself but for his little sister, whom he's struggling to keep custody of. A predicament that eventually leads Mike to take a security job at a local abandoned pizzeria and Chuck E. Cheese knockoff called Freddy Fazbear’s, it isn’t long before the animatronic mascots of the restaurant come to life, putting Mike right in the middle of a terrifying situation that he quickly realizes is far too much to handle on his own. Though this movie isn’t without its flaws (more on that later), I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the attempt at quality filmmaking put on display here. Cast solidly enough with Hutcherson in the lead and helped along by the always great Matthew Lillard, this film did just enough to keep me entertained with its oddly competent direction and, at times, somewhat respectable scares. Not always an engaging watch, yet not necessarily a boring one, I kept going back and forth with how I felt about this one, mostly wanting it to be better than it was but also weirdly accepting of what I got. And for as fun as the movie was in spots, specifically where the animatronic effects are concerned, its issues are fairly obvious and are problems that eventually turn this into something that's well below average. Not only does the PG-13 hamstring a premise that in all actuality is pretty damn terrifying, but since it’s also based on a gaming franchise that has no real plot to speak of, and Five Nights at Freddy’s was never going to be the creative success it wanted to be nor come close to holding a candle to the more successful video game to movie franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog or The Super Mario Bros Movie. With a script that feels padded yet thin at the same time, fewer scares than I expected and hoped for, even considering the limits of the PG-13 rating, and a plot and main character arc that gets repetitive quickly, it’s probably best to only pay attention to the scenes featuring the nightmare fuel that is Freddy and his friends and then proceed to check out for everything else. Is this movie good? Not particularly. Is it scary? Not really. Did I enjoy it? Probably not as much as fans of the games will. But weirdly enough, I didn’t mind the experience. Five Nights at Freddy’s isn’t for everyone — and it isn’t meant to be — but there’s enough fun and entertainment to be had here that makes it a below-average watch, to be sure, but not an outright terrible one. Besides, the fans in the audience seemed pleased with how…

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Brian is first and foremost a nerd in every way shape and form. He likes to compare himself to a black hole, consuming any and every form of entertainment unlucky enough to get caught in his gravitational pull. It's not uncommon on any given day for him to read a couple comics, settle down with a good book, watch a few movies (inside and out of the theater), catch up on his ever growing but never depleting Hulu queue, challenge himself with a few good video games, listen to any music he can get his hands on and, of course, write his heart out. He spends every waking moment dreaming up interesting and intriguing concepts and ideas that will hopefully one day inspire and entertain anyone looking for an escape from their daily lives. Graduating from Full Sail University in good old humid Florida, Brian currently lives and works in New York City and is waiting for the day when all he has to do is wake up and create something unique and new for people to enjoy. He is always in the process of writing scripts and stories and is constantly on the lookout for ways to enhance and build his creative drive. After all, life is just one big story, all that really matters is how you strive to make it the best story possible. Disclaimer: Brian does not actually have powdered green skin in case anyone was wondering. A Skrull I am not. Blame the guys at the Color Run for this one.

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