Five Nights at Freddy’s film adaptation aptly satisfies expectations of video game fans  

February 6, 2024 — by Annie Liu
“Five Nights at Freddy’s” live-action movie poster
The visuals are incredible, but the plot is very bad.

As night falls, five animatronics appear to awaken. As vengeful spirits, they roam an ‘80s pizzeria’s checkered floor, breaking the illusion of their kid-friendly appearance. Security cameras reveal unsettling movements as they stare directly into the lenses, showing signs of sentience. 

Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF),” the film adaptation of the popular “Five Nights at Freddy’s” game series, was released in late October.It does a great job at tying the game’s lore and creating detailed and accurate visuals of the animatronics. 

The movie follows Michael Schmidt,  who is in a legal battle for the custody of his sister, Abby Schmidt. He has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from losing his little brother to a kidnapper and has nightmares about his brother being taken away every night. Schmidt takes up a night gig as a security guard in FNAF’s pizzeria, where the majority of the movie takes place.. 

As a person who has watched hours of FNAF Game Theory videos, I believe the FNAF live action movie is decent. However, the movie clearly panders to video game fans, who don’t need a plot in order to enjoy the movie. 

For non-video game players, I can see how the movie can be long, confusing and lackluster, as it is difficult to catch the references and appreciate the character designs. 

Schmidt’s dream sequences were too repetitive, constituting the entirety of the plot. It’s a great concept in theory, but the movie took too long to make its point: the four animatronics in the pizzaria are possessed by children that also got kidnapped (and killed), just as Mike’s brother did.

Even if you don’t know the lore behind FNAF, you should at least know its iconic jumpscares. To my surprise and disappointment, there were few to no jumpscares in the entire movie. I would’ve loved to see the realistic animatronics scare the daylights out of the characters. 

On that note, the movie benefited from being R-rated. While there wasn’t a lot of gore throughout the game series, much of the killing and bloodshed were implied in the lore of the game itself. The movie merely skimmed over the creepy parts of the story in a very underwhelming and kid-friendly way, making for quite a disappointing horror film. 

  On the other hand, the movie really added to the FNAF story by expanding on the interactions between the animatronics and Abby. Seeing the animatronics play with Abby and act like the kids they once were made me see them in a new light. Contrary to their unsettling portrayal in the game series, the movie showed how the animatronics can be friendly.  

I was also impressed by the movie’s visuals. The animatronics — Freddy, Bonnie, Chica and Foxy — looked accurate to their designs in the games, but they had more details as well: the rust on their endoskeletons and menacing glow of their eyes. The use of static effects, close-up shots and full body shots added a vintage and iconic ‘80s vibe to the movie. 

Courtesy of Five Nights at Freddy’s

Animatronics Freddy, Bonnie, Chica and Foxy.

To top it off, the movie played “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” a great song by the Living Tombstone, when it rolled the credits. The unnerving quality of the song further added to the unsettling ambience of the whole film.

FNAF isn’t a great movie if you’re looking for a horror film to watch on a weekend night, but if you’re looking to join in on the lore and fanbase, it’s a great place to get into the FNAF fandom.

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