Where to Watch: Theaters & Peacock
Scott Cawthon (Creator), Seth Cuddeback, Emma Tammi
Josh Hutcherson, Piper Rubio, Elizabeth Lail
Horror, Mystery, Thriller
All media courtesy of Universal Pictures
Salt Lake City, UT (ABC4)– Five Nights at Freddy’s is based on the very popular video game revolving around a mysterious abandoned Chuck-E-Cheese-like franchise, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. You play a security guard tasked to watch the place at night, but the animatronics are alive and murderous. The film follows the same plotline but through the perspective of Security Guard Mike (Josh Hutcherson). Mike has had a rough life ever since his brother was kidnapped right in front of him. He’s haunted nightly by the blurred face of the kidnapper, and after losing multiple jobs decides to take the graveyard shift. When the animatronics and his dreams become more and more vivid, Mike with the help of others will need to uncover the secrets that lie beneath the metal and wires of Freddy himself.
I had the chance to attend an advanced screening for this as well as interview the director Emma Tammi, which is available in the link below. It was fascinating to hear how much the director was interested in learning the lore surrounding the game first and kept the creator of the game Scott Cawthorn in close contact if ever she needed to learn more about a certain character or make sure that decisions felt authentic to what the fans experienced. I love the style of this film from the wide-angled lenses used during Mike’s nightmare scenes to the unintentional (or intentional) humor mixed throughout the horror.
The practical effects and animatronics on display really sell the movie the most. I loved how the sets looked dirty and abandoned, but you can easily see are rich with easter eggs and references for the game that make the world feel properly established. The suspense building for the kills was done well, with there only being a couple of jump scares, that were well-earned.
After considering the audience for Five Nights at Freddy’s, it’s clear why Blumhouse and Universal went with a PG-13 rating for this first film. I would consider it a “Gateway Horror Film” that can be watched by families looking for a scare but also bring in people who may be looking for more gore, and more kills. I personally hope in the sequel they get the chance to make this an R-rated film so we can get more of the carnage from the games, but still, there is a lot to like about this movie
Some of the characters feel a little wacky and their motivations are not always understandable, but overall I feel that this will end up being a net positive for the fans and for people being introduced to the story for the first time.