movie reviews
Five Nights at Freddy’s

Five Nights at Freddy's

Freddy Fazbear is back - this time on the big screen, and film editor André is unsure if this is even in the horror genre....

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Things aren't going so well for security guard Mike, who seems to be completely unemployable thanks to a childhood trauma that constantly haunts him, and he becomes so desperate that he is forced to accept a night gig in an abandoned pizza parlour called Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. With lousy pay, it should be added. Those of you who have played Scott Cawthon's indie gem, or at least seen hundreds of Youtubers put their hearts in their throats, know what to expect: a number of animatronic party animals have decided to terrorise the main character for five nights in a row and the horror is intense!

Well, unfortunately this movie adaptation is not very scary. It's not even remotely terrifying. Like the game, there are some cheap jumpscares, but what made the original game so successful was the stress of not dealing with energy distributions between security doors and surveillance screens. There's not much of that in the film for obvious reasons, making the Five Nights at Freddy's adaptation an unusually tame and strangely family-friendly horror experience. Some of it is probably done on purpose.

There is, for example, a subplot that smacks strongly of 80s/90s family films, involving an evil aunt who tries to win a custody battle with the help of some incompetent cronies and a slippery lawyer. There's even a love interest for the main character in the form of police officer Vanessa. It's obvious that they wanted to adapt the franchise to as wide an audience as possible, so the film definitely loses some of its edge. Still, Five Nights at Freddy's manages to charm with its claustrophobic environments and well-crafted animal robots, which was unexpected considering how messy the film is at its core.

Five Nights at Freddy’s
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Indeed, it's hard to know what tone director Emma Tammi is trying to set when the chilling horror is mixed with family-friendly drivel, where one minute a character has half his body eaten by a killer robot and the next the protagonists are building a cosy fortress with the nightmare machines in a kind of musical montage (?). It's all strangely bloodless and a lot of the tension is missing - especially when you're drawn into a ridiculously convoluted ghost story halfway through - but it's also sufficiently middle-of-the-road cosy to do the game justice in terms of aesthetics and atmosphere.

This is fanservice in its purest form, where the most hardcore fans will have a lot of fun watching Freddy, Chica, Foxy and the rest of the gang try to eliminate intruders in their beloved pizzeria. Those with no connection whatsoever to the franchise, on the other hand, will most likely be bored to death thanks to its uneven qualities and the messy plot, which here tries to cram in several games' backstories to fill out an otherwise very thin and predictable ghost story. It's also a little too long for its own good, with the whole thing feeling at least half an hour too long.

Matthew Lillard stands out in a very small role as a career counsellor in what can best be described as a mixed bag of good intentions. I think you can definitely feel the love for this franchise, and I like the early 2000s vibe, but Five Nights of Freddy's feels more like a fan film you can find on YouTube than a lavish horror flick from a major studio. As I said, there's nothing to shudder at, but if you're just looking for some Freddy Fazbear nostalgia, this would still work as a harmless Halloween treat.

04 Gamereactor UK
4 / 10
overall score
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Five Nights at Freddy's

Five Nights at Freddy's

MOVIE REVIEW. Written by André Lamartine

Freddy Fazbear is back - this time on the big screen, and film editor André is unsure if this is even in the horror genre....

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