I’ll preface this review with saying I haven’t had any real experience with the Five Nights at Freddy’s games. I played a demo for one of the games for just a few minutes, got bored and turned it off.
As someone who hasn’t really delved into the games and had only a brief encounter with them, I approached the movie with a certain level of ignorance about the franchise. That said, I found the movie started out to be quite engaging.
The concept of dreaming sequences added an interesting layer to the main character, and I was genuinely interested by the mystery that was built up. As the movie progressed however, it started to become a bit convoluted. The dreams became too intricate to the plot. While complexity can be a positive aspect in storytelling, it should ideally enhance the narrative rather than overshadow it.
Josh Hutcherson’s performance in the movie isn’t remarkable, but he delivered a decent portrayal of his character, Mike. Mike is a troubled security guard who reluctantly accepts a night-time job at an abandoned family entertainment center,
Willy’s Wonderland. I mean Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza.
He takes care of his younger sister, Abby (Piper Rubio). Rubio managed to avoid being an annoying presence, which is a notable achievement in itself. Her performance was commendable. Arguably the best of the movie, but really that isn’t saying much.
There’s also Vanessa (Elizabeth Lail), a police officer, whose route at night includes passing by Freddy’s. This character came across as primarily an exposition dump. While her role initially seemed somewhat superfluous, the film eventually found a way to give her character some meaning within the story. Although it was clearly forced.
Mike likes to dream. He seems to spend most of the time sleeping, even while working. When he was young, his brother was kidnapped and he believes there are clues in his dreams, because memories can’t be counted on. Although this is kind of silly, it worked. It added some depth to the character.
The animatronics looked good, but they were mostly kept in the background. Again, I don’t really know anything of the games, but I assume they matched up well to the game. The animatronics in the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie are 100% real. They have not been created using CGI, with practical puppeteering effects. Which was kind of surprising and actually refreshing.
The tone reminded me of Willy’s Wonderland, but here the premise matches that tone more and isn’t as bad. That being said there’s a scene that’s completely jarring and changes up that tone some. It kind of comes out of left field, but that might be due to me not knowing the games. It might have helped if the movie wasn’t seemingly so serious.
In the end, my middle-of-the-road review of the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie would be that it had a strong start and an interesting premise, but it became overly intricate in its storytelling, potentially alienating viewers who are not deeply familiar with the games.
Despite its flaws, it might still appeal to fans of the franchise who are looking for a cinematic exploration of the Five Nights at Freddy’s Universe. However, I have no real interest in watching it again. That said, it’s not terrible. I can take it or leave it.
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