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“Five Nights at Freddy’s” Review: A Terror-Packed, Spooky Fun For All

Step inside, if you dare – where thrills meet chills, and everyone’s fair game.

Five Nights at Freddy's Review
Universal Pictures

Five Nights at Freddys Review: B+ : When my nephew first told me about Scott Cawthon’s Five Nights at Freddy’s computer game franchise, I was amazed that he could tolerate playing as a security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, where huge, metal animatronics come to life and terrorize you. The anxiety is real, and the makers of the live-action film of the same name strive to transform it into a story about loneliness, familial bonds, and regret. Even though the plot takes too long at times, Emma Tammi’s spooky film will be entertaining for game fans and families.

Five Nights at Freddys Review
Universal Pictures

Mike (Josh HutchersonThe Hunger Games) is down on his luck. Haunted by the events from his past, Mike struggles to hold down a job and care for his little sister, Abby (Piper Rubio, Unstable), at the same time. When the siblings’ aunt (Mary Stuart Masterson, Some Kind of Wonderful) threatens to take custody of the child, Mike must accept any job he finds, which happens to be working as a security guard at the defunct Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. After being recommended by his counselor (Matthew Lillard, Scream),  Mike becomes a guard from sunset to sunrise, but his calm is shattered when he discovers the animatronics from the cult place for kids come to life.

Live-action adaptations of popular games have always been a fad, but they seem to have become even more popular in recent years. HBO’s The Last of Us, based on Naughty Dog’s game of the same name, is one of the most successful and beloved shows. Despite being nowhere near as fantastic as the apocalyptic show, Five Nights at Freddy’s, written by Scott Cawthon, Tammi, and Scott Cuddeback, is in a decent position for the Halloween weekend. The film’s basic plot is similar to the games, revolving around animatronics coming back to life and a security guard attempting to beat them and survive the night. However, the creators include another plotline that augments the narrative, though it causes the film to drag at times.

Five Nights at Freddy's
Universal Pictures

As Hutcherson’s Mike unravels the mystery behind Freddy and his friends, the audience realizes his character is virtually unable to cope with his younger brother’s kidnapping, which made him who he is today. As a result, he is stuck in the past, whereas Abby requires his big brother in the present. Hutcherson does a wonderful job of expressing desolation and fear. With his character’s struggles to reconcile the past and the present, Mike is incredibly relatable. Rubio’s Abby, his co-star, is cute as a button. Little Abby becomes the answer and solution to Mike’s problems at hand, but only if Mike is willing to listen. When it comes to the ensemble, Elizabeth Lail of You is also a good addition as a young police officer, but she can’t beat Lillard who, albeit for a short while, leaves a lasting impression.

Mike’s capacity to consciously dream is one of the interesting aspects of this supernatural horror flick. The man is determined to reveal his brother’s kidnapper and feels he can remember him by dreaming about the event. The intricate plot is absorbing, but it occasionally detracts from the real stars: Freddy, Foxy, Chica, and Bonnie. Five Nights at Freddy’s animatronics are pretty great, well-crafted, perfectly evoking a sense of decay and oblivion. They are faithful recreations of the game series and undoubtedly deliver a touch of fear, even while friendly with Abby. Every time they appear on screen, they cause a sense of disturbance.

Five Nights at Freddy's
Universal Pictures

The music of Five Nights at Freddy’s is its strong suit. Created by The Newton Brothers, the soundtrack contributes to the building tension and mystery around the protagonists, notably a mysterious yellow rabbit who frequently appears in Abby’s artwork. The musical pair is well recognized for their work on Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Hill House, and The Haunting of Bly Manor, amongst others. Their particular style is easily recognized and admired throughout the film.

Five Nights at Freddys Review

Overall, Five Nights at Freddy’s is a decent flick that provides entertainment and scares for younger and older generations. Is it without flaws in its story? No, but this supernatural horror is still fun to see. Tammi’s movie, which is now available on Peacock and playing in theaters, will be enjoyable for fans of the games as well as those who are just discovering the world of Freddy Fazebear and his companions.

Grade: B-

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