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  • Writer's pictureCaleb Orcutt

Five Nights at Freddy's (2023)

Updated: Apr 29

Five Nights at Freddy's was a movie 8 years in the making following development hell as it transferred from Warner Bros to Blumhouse and went through numerous directors and writers however once Jason Blum got ahold of the franchise is when the film truly began to be made.

After seeing the film in theaters last October to see this film. It's interesting to analyze this film from the perspective of the fans of the infamous franchise and casual movie-goers who wanted to see a semi-tame horror film. The Five Nights at Freddy's games began back in 2014 and since then there has been 16 games and 32 books that have expanded the lore to become overly convoluted and often quite contradicting. The overarching story has become so mesy that there are YouTube channels dedicated to trying to explain this constantly changing story. So how exactly would a movie be able to tackle this?

Five Nights at Freddy's (2023) takes a unique approach of generally adapting a chunk of the story but changing it enough to to make it fresh. The story of William Afton (Matthew Lillard) is similar to the game's story seeing him become a serial killer who killed children and stuffed them into the animatronics. The character of Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson) is where the film deviates from the established story. Within the games' storyline, Mike is William's son as the games try to keep the characters almost entirely in the same family. The film instead makes Mike's brother a victim of William where Mike is hoping to find his brother's murderer. The film uses this change to its advantage to create a much larger mystery of what happened to Mike's brother as well as the conflict between Mike and William.

The use of practical effects is incredible with each animatronic allowing the film to feel much more alive and terrifying knowing these characters exist in the real world rather than in a CGI mesh. Jim Henson's Creature Shop expertly brings these video game characters to real life in a way where the they feel unique but the movement of each animatronic is unique enough to feel special. The PG-13 rating was a topic of hot debate given the story's incredibly dark and graphic subject and violence. However, the film capitalizes on the PG-13 rating and often uses shadows as a way to show graphic scenes in a unique method rather than just making all violence offscreen.

Ultimately, Five Nights at Freddy's is nowhere near the best video game adaptation, however it was created with the fans in mind and allows for the film to be original while also taking the larger chunks of the games and bringing them to the big screen.

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