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Review: Five Nights At Freddy's
Can You Survive Five Nights?
This is a quick review of the newly released film Five Nights At Freddy’s. Keep in mind this is but one of the many movies I watch every year, and that whatever initial grade I come up for this film could change for better or worse with time. To better keep up to date with both my thoughts on other movies and if my feelings on this film changed, follow me on Letterboxd.
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Via Letterboxd: Recently fired and desperate for work, a troubled young man named Mike agrees to take a position as a night security guard at an abandoned theme restaurant - Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. But he soon discovers that nothing at “Freddy’s” is what it seems.
It has taken years for massive video game horror franchise Five Nights At Freddy’s to finally get a film adaptation done. You’d think a simple game about a security guard at a Chuckie E Cheese like kids’ fun spot having to survive killer animatronic characters would be an easy one to adapt. One such attempt even lead to the 2021 Nicolas Cage starring Willy's Wonderland - a movie with mixed reviews from both critics and audiences and which I didn’t like myself. But here we are in 2023 and Blumhouse has finally given us one.
And the reviews have been horrifyingly bad on the critics’ side while last I checked they were okay among audiences. Given that just a few weeks back I was grappling with actually liking the widely panned The Exorcist: Believer, I wondered if this would be another such case for me. Maybe some folks’ expectations were too low? Maybe there was a big generational gap among critics versus audiences? Well even with such low expectations and such a low bar to clear, this managed to become one of the most painful experiences in film for me this year.
Five Nights At Freddy’s should’ve been a simple, 90-minute horror flick where we follow a security guard around during one bad night at the job with the ever increasing realization the animatronics he or she are assigned to look over are hunting him or her down. What it shouldn’t have been is an overlong, nearly two hour bore-fest where nothing happens for nearly an hour and we get an almost Inception like dream subplot, a family custody drama, horror that is hit and miss in tone, and a final reveal that had me laughing out loud at how badly executed it was.
And that’s before I get into the mediocre cinematography, the mediocre acting from everyone including our lead Josh Hutcherson who seems like he’s just trying to sleep his way through a paycheck, or the pacing that left me looking at my watch countless times. This was painful to get through and I was just amazed such a clunky, bad script took an incredible concept and made me bored out of my mind.
I felt so let down by Five Nights At Freddy’s that I actually have lost interest in spooky season for the rest of the day and Halloween is my personal favorite holiday! I almost want to give it an F-tier grade I disliked this so bad. But F reviews are left for only the truly unconsciously and offensive films that shouldn’t even exist. I can MAYBE see how some fans of the series would give this a C+ or a B- review? But that won’t be me. I give Five Nights At Freddy’s a woeful D-. Compared to this, Willy’s Wonderland is a Criterion-level masterpiece.