Image Courtesy of Uncrate
By Kristijan Jakominich
Old and new fans alike have been waiting in anticipation for the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie for years now. Announced in 2015 and stuck in development limbo for years, the film was finally released on October 26 of this year. The movie has received mixed reviews.
The Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise, created in 2014 by Christian game developer Scott Cawthorn, it reached explosive popularity. This rise to fame was mainly due to YouTube playthroughs and theories created by popular streamers, such as Markiplier or Game Theory. The recent movie release is the latest capstone of the franchise after the success of its latest game, Security Breach. In 2017, Cawthorn announced that there were several production issues and that it was “back at square one.” Later that year, however, Blumhouse Productions took over the project, which led to its eventual release.
The movie’s plot is based on Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes, written by Cawthorn in 2015. It follows Michael, an out-of-luck man who needs to care for his younger sister and takes on a night security job at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. He quickly discovers, however, that the restaurant is more dangerous than it seems and that it possesses an odd connection to his younger brother, who was kidnapped and has haunted his dreams for years since.
Rated PG-13, the movie isn’t filled with the blood and guts that one would normally associate with a modern horror film – much to the disappointment of some fans of the series who expected more overt horror. To viewers’ surprise, despite the franchise games relying entirely on jumpscares, the movie lacks them. It has a handful, but not nearly the amount one would expect. It is clear that these decisions were made for the younger audience, being that the games are pretty popular among children.
The quality of the acting ranges from fairly decent to loveable levels of campy. Josh Hutcherson does a good job as the main lead, and Matthew Lillard’s killer appearance makes callbacks to his old roles as Ghostface in the Scream franchise (though internet commentators also noted his role as Shaggy in the live-action Scooby-Doo movies).
What genuinely shocked me was learning that the animatronics used in the movie were completely real. Given that they look very smooth and move realistically, I assumed they were CGI. However, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, a contributor to The Muppets fame, was responsible for their creation. That alone deserves accolades, especially in an era in which movies lack real props or practical effects. It makes the whole production much more impressive and adds a sense of authenticity to it.
As a horror movie, it isn’t anything too special. It has campy moments that are obviously not meant to be taken that seriously, but that’s not really what the movie is about. The movie is meant for the fans. It contains dozens of easter eggs, all the way to the end credits, that only diehard fans would pick up on. The audience is truly what makes it special. There are many franchises that, when put to screen, try to make a mass market appeal and dilute themselves for the sake of profit. Many fans still complain that the movie was too tame for the sake of the kids and that some scenes almost blatantly advertise buying the franchise’s merchandise. However, the movie itself doesn’t betray the core of the franchise. It stays loyal to the lore and includes cameos by figures like MatPat (host of Game Theory).
If you go to have a serious cinematic experience, you’re in the wrong place. Instead, it’s a fun movie to see with friends, to remember the franchise many of us grew up watching on YouTube, hiding in the comment section to keep from being scared (unless you were brave enough). The fact that this franchise is still being carried on is remarkable in itself. I recommend everyone to go give it a watch and maybe watch some of the old lore videos as a refresher. You won’t regret it.