Going into “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” expectations weren’t set too high considering how most video game translations to the silver screen usually fall flat and the six years of development didn’t do it any favors. Yet ever since the trailer had been released, fans of the hit indie video game “FNaF” for short have been trailblazing the digital landscape with excitement as Scott Cawthon’s massive hit also would seem to be a success in the movie theater.
While watching it, the question of whether it would match the internet hype lingered in the back of my mind, only for my worries to be blown away. Although the movie is not without its criticisms, it is incredible the quality this movie could create, especially with a budget of only $20 million (in comparison, that’s $5 million less than one episode of Marvel’s objectively worst series “She-Hulk”) and has already made seven times that amount worldwide. It also entirely recreates the environment of the first “FNaF” game even with the animatronics, Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy being made physically instead of being CGI, which is a breath of fresh air compared to how more and more films seem to over rely on green screening.
Josh Hutcherson does a phenomenal job at portraying someone struggling with survivor’s guilt and as someone who is desperate enough to take a job at Freddy’s. I especially enjoyed how the film’s producers chose to take the route of humanizing the animatronics, which although is a choice that seems to be dubious to the audience, helps add to the unease for viewers who aren’t deeply involved in the “FNaF” games. Explaining more would be getting into movie spoilers but the scene that gives personality to the animatronics seems to make the audience fear them less and changing the vibe from a movie to a more fun campy vibe, which I found to be a good and creepy choice as the previously mentioned animatronics murdered a small group of raiders.
Moreover, the movie is at many times different compared to the original game, ensuring that many die-hard theorists of the confusing games would have plenty of new material to puzzle over and giving a fresh experience to those that have memorized the game’s lore. That is especially true to Matpat (Matthew Patrick) who had a guest appearance on the movie thanks to his years as a internet theorizer, with his Game Theory videos theorizing about FNaF making him synonymous to the brand, making many fans cheering at his appearance as well as Coryxkenshin (Cory Williams) and other youtubers’ cameo appearances.
There was one negative that I noticed while watching, which was that the movie’s overall plot wasn’t well thought out for non-fans, with characters making certain decisions and saying things that simply would not make sense, a prominent example of a police officer talking to the main character, Mike, before threatening to shoot him seemingly out of nowhere. Moreover, it partially feels like the movie expects you to know some of the characters’ names, for example the main antagonist William Afton’s name is dropped near the end with very little clues which is a bit strange considering how the main character’s motivation is to find out who kidnapped his brother.
But without a doubt, the “FNaF” movie is making headlines as the third biggest opening of all time and is easily dominating the box office on its opening weekend and is currently beating other horror movies such as “The Nun II” and even Disney’s “The Marvels.” Looking over the movie as a whole, it is undoubtedly excellent and warrants a five star rating for any “FNaF” fan watching the movie, but for those who are not pre-established fans, this rating should be lowered to a three and a half star rating due to film’s long run-time and not overly strong story, making it solid and enjoyable.