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“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is a movie for the fans

Stephany Ortiz

“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is an indie horror game that was released in 2014. Scott Cawthon created the game by himself over the course of six months while working at Dollar General. The game blew up after the release, thanks to popular YouTubers such as Markiplier, Dawko, Game Theory, CoryxKenshin, and more. “Five Nights at Freddy’s 2” was released only two months later, and as the years went on, the franchise only grew and grew. Now there are eight main games in the franchise, some of them coming out as recently as 2021. 

A FNAF movie was announced in 2015 but has since had many rewrites, director changes, and studio changes. Cawthon wanted the movie to be perfect and took his time to craft his ideal version of the movie. The movie eventually ended up at Blumhouse and would be distributed by Universal. Chris Columbus, director of the first two Harry Potter movies, was set to direct the FNAF movie but left due to unknown circumstances. After Chris Columbus left, Emma Tammi became director. There were doubts that the FNAF movie would ever come to fruition, but all of that changed when the cast was announced in December 2022. 

Josh Hutcherson and Mathew Lillard were announced to be playing Mike Schmit and William Afton. After seven years of waiting, this gave fans more hope than ever that the movie was actually happening. 

After the cast was announced the production flew by. Filming began in February of 2023 and ended in April of 2023. The first trailer was released in May 2023, and the movie was finally released on October 27, 2023. 

After all these years of waiting, was the movie worth it? 

Many FNAF fans are going to walk out of the movie enjoying it. But if you know nothing about the franchise, and you’re going to watch it expecting a horror movie, you are likely to be disappointed.

“It was very good, exactly what the fans wanted. The story is awesome and the film is perfect,” stated Truett Thompson, a 14-year-old fan of the franchise who was cosplaying as William Afton while watching the movie.

 “Five Nights at Freddy’s” starts off strong with a fantastic opening scene, it’s one of the few scenes that showcases the horror elements that the FNAF franchise is known for and sets up the basis for what’s to be expected for the rest of the film. After that, we are introduced to the main character of the film, Mike, who is played by Josh Hutcherson. The movie does a good job of handling the heavy themes present in the film. Themes present in the film include grief, guilt, forgiveness, rebellion, and acceptance. These themes are handled very maturely and leave you feeling sympathetic for the characters present in the story. Mike’s story in particular is spectacular, and Josh Hutcherson’s performance elevates the character. Piper Rubio did a great job as Abby, Mike’s younger sister. The standout performance of the whole movie was Matthew Lillard as William Afton. Lillard brings a sense of humanity to the twisted mind of Afton, and also adds a bit of humor to the film. Even though Afton only has around 10 minutes of screen time, he is for sure one of the highlights of the film. Mathew Patrick also plays Ness in the movie, with little screen time, though he makes the most of it with a very good comedic performance.

“Seeing Mathew Lillard as 6 ‘4″ terrified me, he was too tall and couldn’t fit through the doorway,” said junior Jacob Helfer.

Jim Henson’s Creature Shop is the company that made the five animatronics featured in the movie, and they did a fantastic job at bringing them to life. They made actual animatronics, unlike other movies with a similar premise like “The Banana Splits Movie” or “Willy’s Wonderland” which just had people in suits. Since they used real animatronics it enhances the viewing experience because all of the animatronics feel real and you can feel the weight in each step. Each animatronic is given a decent amount of screen time and time to shine except Golden Freddy. Golden Freddy has three minutes of screen time, and it is used very poorly. He isn’t explained in the film at all. 

“The Cupcake carried the whole movie because it did a lot more damage than anyone else,” said Helfer.

The story leaves a lot to be desired but is enough to satisfy fans of the games. The film follows a similar story structure to the first game, a security guard has to survive five nights in an abandoned pizzeria, but changes a lot of aspects from the game. For example, the game franchise is known to be scary, but the movie only has two horror sequences. Another example is that the family of William Afton is changed from the games. And lastly, the animatronics actions towards Mike and Abby during the middle portion of the film is unusual and will leave many viewers enraged. Most of these changes make sense in the context of the movie, but they still leave many fans mad at the changes. However this is an adaptation of the game, and it is bound to change some things because that’s the nature of being an adaptation. 

“It definitely wasn’t based on the games lore, but it was based on the books. It was really for the fans and not the general audience,” said Helfer.

However, a lot of the plot lines in this movie are rushed due to the film being overstuffed with the story. For example, the aunt subplot ends abruptly and is never resolved. Fans hope a future sequel will be able to explain some of these plot missteps and expand the world of FNAF.

Overall, if you like the FNAF games, you are likely to enjoy this movie and overlook some of its flaws. On the other hand,if you’ve never heard of FNAF and just want to watch a scary movie, you will probably hate this movie.

“Could go down as a top 10 movie of all time,” said junior Robert Lemmers.

A sequel to “Five Nights at Freddy’s” is very likely. Lillard confirmed that he signed a three-movie deal with Blumhouse for FNAF. The movie grossed $130 million at the worldwide box office on a $20 million budget despite releasing on Peacock the same day as it released in theaters.  The movie broke the record for the biggest box office opening for a Blumhouse production, and the director of the film has shared what she would want to do in a sequel multiple times.

“Great movie overall, and I definitely think they’re going to make a second one,” said Helfer.

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Dean Barbeau, Features Writer
Stephany Ortiz, Multimedia Editor/Features Writer
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