Five Nights at Freddy’s Isn’t Perfect, and That’s OK
Whether you noticed it in passing as an adult or watched its rise on YouTube during the 2010s, it’s been hard to ignore the mark Five Nights at Freddy’s left on horror gaming as well as indie games as a whole. Since its inception as a last-ditch effort by the creator Scott Cawthon, the game has evolved into a multimedia franchise with multiple video games, novels, and now a feature film directed by Emma Tammi. Long-time fans know all too well the development hell this film has been stuck in, so it’s no secret why diehards the world over are going so far as to dress up for the film in theaters. I didn’t have much to dress up with myself during my viewing, but my friends and I chose outfits that generally adhered to… I guess, the palette of the characters? Regardless of our lack of fitting attire, trust me when I say we were dying to see this.
Blumhouse Productions has had a bit of a renaissance lately. Though some of their recent films have been a bit underwhelming to some, such as the recent Halloween revival trilogy and the recent sequel to The Exorcist, some of their other productions like M3GAN and The Black Phone were critical and commercial successes. The studio allows the freedom for directors to bring stories to life, which bodes well for fans of the Five Nights at Freddy’s series. This movie elaborates on both core and blink-and-you-miss-it points from the first game to bring the game to life on screen, while also throwing in plotpoints, foreshadowing, and allusion to other games in the series. At the end of the day, however, the story of the film does mainly focus on the first game.
As other reviews have definitely implied (or even just outright SAID), this film is far from perfect. However, what is Five Nights at Freddy’s if not perfect? Every fan of the series knows that the series has been full of plot holes, imperfections, and retcons from the start. At the end of the day, it’s a very simple game that’s brought to life by the passion both the fans and the creator pour into the culture of the franchise. In that same sense, the film having this low-budget practical horror B-movie feel is the PERFECT way to adapt it. There’s only so much terror that can be derived from a haunted animatronic party pizzeria establishment, but the potential for a grounded story focusing on WHY things have gotten that way is through the roof. Though the two aspects have a bit of trouble finding their footing early on, they eventually balance each other out and make for a compelling story that horror fans will… tolerate, and Five Nights at Freddy’s fans will absolutely love.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is now playing in theaters worldwide, and streaming on Peacock.