The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ tries to please hardcore fans, fails to please general audiences

Photo courtesy of IMDb
Five Nights at Freddy’s releases on Oct. 27.

Emma Tammi’s newest film “Five Nights at Freddy’s” has had a rough road laid out for it. 

After being in development for roughly eight years, being moved from studio to studio, scripts being remade, thrown out and directors switching in and out of the project, the movie did not have a good outlook. 

The idea of a “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie was clear, but the vision wasn’t. 

“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is not a good movie nor a successful adaptation. The film seems to mainly have a focus on providing fanservice over proper storytelling.

First off, this movie is not scary. 

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There are few jump scares to keep viewers on the edge of their seats and the film doesn’t instill fear or worry as to what might happen to the characters. Additionally, the bizarre presence of lighthearted scenes completely takes away from the fear the movie is supposed to instill in the viewers.

The movie follows Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson), a security guard looking for a job in order to help build a case to maintain custody of his little sister Abby. The movie spends way, way, too much time on this storyline, by the way.

Mike gets offered a security guard position at the defunct Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, where his only goal is to make sure no one gets in. However, four animatronic mascots that may or may not move on their own complicate things significantly.

Mike’s main character development revolves around the fact that he had a younger brother who was kidnapped. Mike revisits the day his brother was taken in his dreams, which only get more vivid the longer he stays in the pizzeria.

Most of the characters, Mike included,  feel dull and verge on lifeless during the majority of their screen time. Vanessa, a cop, randomly shows up early in the film and acts as an almost zombified plot device, acting as a mysterious guiding character.

The problems with the characters seem to be an issue of the screenplay, which feels all over the place. The movie doesn’t know if it wants to be somewhat scary or fun.

The screenplay also leaves too many loose ends that never go anywhere and characters that know too much for no clear reason. 

There’s one character who knows more than what they’re letting on, and when their secrets are revealed at the end of the film, it feels like a slap in the face. It’s an almost laughably weak and cliche explanation.

It’s a shame because, behind these issues of the movie, the set design of the pizzeria and the design of the animatronics are pretty and accurate to the game’s portrayal. For example, the pizzeria and the camera angles used to depict the restaurant are almost identical to the game.

The film, to its credit, is filled with Easter eggs and references to the games, even if they aren’t integral parts of the plot. 

However, this creates an issue for the average moviegoer who doesn’t have the outside knowledge to understand what’s going on. 

For example, a certain animatronic makes a guest appearance, and the game fans will understand that this is not the same animatronic that’s been on screen for most of the film, but an alternate version. The oblivious attendee will not pick up on this. 

The movie rarely goes anywhere with the plot, especially with the animatronics — their presence in the movie feels merely like a selling point rather than an actual threat for Mike by the time the credits roll.

So, it’s hard to recommend “Five Nights at Freddy’s” to the average moviegoer as there’s not much to enjoy. 

Many of the jokes fall flat, the story is paced incredibly awkwardly and there’s a lack of an antagonizing force for the already dull characters. 

This movie lives in a purgatory. It tries to be two things at once — wanting to please the longtime hardcore fans with heavy knowledge of the game lore while attempting to be appealing to the average moviegoer.

The audience I shared the auditorium with began to clap and cheer in excitement whenever any one of the titular animatronics, Bonnie, Freddy, Chica or Foxy appeared on the screen. The cameos from two YouTubers who helped popularize the games was a nice surprise.

For true fans of the games, it’s very possible that a good experience will be found by watching “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” but for everyone else, this movie falls short.


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About the Contributor
Kiran Bond
Hi! My name is Kiran Bond and I'm a junior majoring in journalism and minoring in informatics. I started writing for The Daily Illini in the features section back in early 2022, before coming to buzz. I'm very passionate about music and journalism, so buzz editor is an awesome position for me! In my free time, I'm usually doing something musical! I'm in the Women's Glee Club choir and I play piano and guitar. I'm also probably listening to Fall Out Boy or another pop-punk or post-hardcore band. For any inquiries, feel free to reach out to me at !
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