Five Nights at Freddy’s: a fun, fast but forgettable horror flick. It’s been 8 years since the Five Nights at Freddy‘s movie was announced and fans of this beloved horror franchise have been clamouring to see the final product, but does it live up to the hype? As fans know; Five Nights at Freddy’s has been Scott Cawthon’s baby ever since the first game was released back in 2014, bringing with it a set of extremely passionate fans. In regard to pleasing fans, one has no doubt that Cawthon and Jason Blum have done just that, as this movie is filled top to bottom with easter eggs at every turn. Even while having an extremely limited knowledge of FNAF the audience can tell that this is quite clearly a love letter to fans of the franchise. While fans will likely adore this movie, newcomers to the franchise may see this as a fun but forgettable horror flick. Due to the great abundance of FNAF lore over the course of countless games, non-fans may struggle to keep up with the movie as it tries to fill you in but it just comes off as a head scratcher and certain reveals come off unintentionally cheesy, particularly with Elizabeth Lail’s Vanessa.
With all this being said easter eggs will only take you so far as the movie itself is supposed to be a horror movie, after all it’s spawned from some genuinely terrifying games however, the movie lacks all scares as it cuts away from what should be brutal kills, albeit while the cuts are creative it leaves you craving to see just what these abominable animatronics are truly capable of. However, even with all of this creativity it leaves a movie that just isn’t scary even with all of its attempts the scares just fall flat. This goes to show that the movie would have benefited from an R rating as this would allow true scares to be achieved.
Speaking of the animatronics, the movie seamlessly transitions these horrifying icons into live action, bringing Freddy Fazbear and the others to life. The decision to create real live action animatronics instead of using CGI greatly paid off as these beasts look excellent in live action. However, it’s not Freddy that’s the scariest part of the movie, it’s Matthew Lillard’s William Afton. While Lillard certainly has limited screen time the character’s villainous aura is certainly felt throughout the movie as you delve more and more into the mystery of Freddys. Lillard’s performance was by far the stand out of the movie delivering a haunted and unhinged performance thus reminding fans of the terrifying villain he is capable of portraying as seen in 1996’s Scream where he starred as Ghostface Stu Macher.
It’s great seeing Josh Hutcherson back in movies, in this case starring in the lead as security guard Mike. Mike has a surprising amount of depth for a horror movie and the movie does just enough to make you care about him while all of this carnage is going down at Freddy’s. Hutcherson delivers an exceptional performance delivering a very different character than his Hunger Games days as Mike is filled with a traumatic past full of mysteries unsolved. When it comes to Elizabeth Lail’s character Vanessa, a cop who just might be up to more than appears the character may not be embraced by audiences as she is plagued with questionable dialogue and a twist reveal that may come off a bit more comedic than intended.
Overall, Five nights at Freddy’s is a fun but forgettable horror movie, nothing outright terrible but nothing standing out either, earning itself a 3 star rating. But buckle as its roaring success over the past weekend earning $130 million worldwide guarantees that this franchise will be in the movie business for the years to come.
Horror, Mystery | USA, 2023 | 15 | Cinema | 25th October 2023 | Universal Pictures UK | Dir. Emma Tammi | Josh Hutcherson, Piper Rubio, Elizabeth Lail, Matthew Lillard, Mary Stuart Masterson