Based on the beloved video game franchise created in 2014 by Scott Cawthon, Five Nights at Freddys was probably the most highly anticipated horror movie of the year. Directed by Emma Tammi, the film spent years in production limbo, changing directors and production companies several times before finally reaching cinemas this October. While the result doesn’t closely follow the game series nor the novels, it’s filled to the brim with easter eggs to appease the franchise’s fandom.
Where can you watch Five Nights at Freddys in the UAE?
The Hunger Games alumni Josh Hutcherson stars as Mike Schmidt, a troubled young man in charge of looking after his sister Abby following their parent’s passing. When we first meet Mike, he attacks a man at the mall where he is working security after mistaking him for a child abductor.
To his career counselor’s (Matthew Lillard) exasperation, the mall incident results in Mike getting yet again fired from his job. There’s one last chance saloon job Mike might be a good fit for, but it involves working nights at the creepy abandoned family entertainment restaurant Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza.
Back in the 1980s, Freddy’s was all the rave, complete with lifesize animatronic robots to keep the kids entertained. However, the restaurant was forced to shut down due to a yet-to-be-solved series of child abductions.
While Mike is apprehensive about taking the job, the threat of losing custody of his little sister to their Karen-esque aunt Jane (Mary Stuart Masterson) is enough to convince him otherwise. Early on, he meets and befriends police officer Vannessa (Elizabeth Lail), who seems to know too much about the former pizzeria. The abandoned Freddy Fazbear is also conveniently the perfect place for Mike to practice strange lucid dreaming exercises he hopes will help solve his brother’s kidnapping.
It doesn’t take long for things to get strange and for Mike to realize there’s more to powering the animatronics than electricity.
Low on scares, high on melodrama
As someone who enjoyed playing the Five Nights at Freddys game, I had high hopes for this film. It didn’t exactly disappoint, but it did fall into the trap of taking itself way too seriously for a horror movie about furry animatronic robots killing people. The animatronics aren’t scary enough, and the plot is too melodramatic while simultaneously minimizing its darker themes. It seems the film didn’t know if they wanted to appeal to a younger audience or the franchise’s more mature fanbase.
That’s not to say Five Nights at Freddys is without charm. The scenes where Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy are tormenting people perfectly blend horror with hilarity. Showing the violence in gory details wasn’t necessary to give viewers a good idea of how dangerous these furry beasts are. It’s a shame the movie didn’t offer more of that campy horror vibe.
The performances are mediocre, at best. Josh Hutcherson tries to carry the film, but his emotional scenes just feel over the top. The same goes for Elizabeth Lail’s rather underwhelming portrayal of the supposedly mysterious Vanessa. However, Matthew Lillard is brilliantly unhinged and steals the spotlight in every scene he’s in. Unfortunately, his character does not have enough screen time.
Overall, Five Nights at Freddys may not be a masterpiece, but it is a fun little horror flick. It’s not exactly scary but it’s entertaining enough and does justice to the source material.
What are other critics saying about Five Nights at Freddys (Video Reviews):
Chris Stuckmann’s review was complimentary of Emma Tammi’s direction and Josh Hutcherson’s performance.
Jeremy Jahns felt the movie had too many filler scenes and plotlines that didn’t add anything to the main storyline.
IGN wasn’t impressed with the soap-style plotline and lack of focus on the claustrophobic horror elements that made the original game series so popular.
Lori C. is an entertainment writer who studied Film and Television at University. She watches and reviews films and series from most genres, but some of her favourites include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, The Handmaid’s Tale, Westworld, and True Blood.