FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY'S
Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Lail, Piper Rubio, Mary Stuart Masterson, and Matthew Lillard
Director: Emma Tammi
Holy moly is Five Nights at Freddy’s HORRENDOUS. It’s narratively pushed by a half-assed storyline about childhood trauma that it never fully commits to, and it seems to debate with itself as to whether it wants to be taken somewhat seriously as a “horror” film or go all-in on the campiness of everything. It’s a shame, too, because, honestly, somewhere in there is a good movie, but with such a tame and muddled script littered with tonal inconsistencies and story issues, it prevents it from being anything close to enjoyable. So, I’ll leave it at this…Five Nights At Freddy's is four nights too many.
Five Nights at Freddy's is for fans of the game and nobody else. Everyone else must suffer through a dull, tension-less horror film that baffles at every turn. The film's reliance on fan service is shameless, and fans will argue that the bizarre plotting and backstory are all "the lore," but as a non-fan, I couldn't make sense of it. And that's before even mentioning the horrific editing and one of the craziest tonal shifts I can remember. Nothing even really happens for four of the five nights. If you like the games, have fun. Everyone else, steer clear.
On paper, a horror movie about murderous Chuck-E-Cheese-style animatronics is a fun idea, but Five Nights at Freddy’s is held back by its own source material. Too much of the runtime is spent exploring lore from the video game, and it takes time away from the fun robots. Admittedly, they don’t actually look that great, but whenever they’re on screen, the movie is at least somewhat entertaining. If the droves of screeching 14-year-olds in my theater were any indication, I’d bet this one gets a sequel, so next time, let’s have more focus on the killer animatronics and less on Nebraska.
Five Nights at Freddy’s completely lacked any bite. It should have been fun, cheesy, excessive, and gory. Instead, it was bland, boring, and failed to commit to the horror element of the source material, suffering as a result. As someone who is unfamiliar with the video games, the barrage of references were lost on me, and I was left pointlessly waiting for something, anything, interesting to happen. The film’s focus on the ‘lore’ of the games isolates anyone who isn't in the know, and consequently is full of confusing tonal shifts, tedious plotting, and unconvincing performances.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is convoluted and overlong (despite only running at 110 minutes), and it’s truly scary how boring it is. It’s a mighty achievement for Blumhouse to take such a basic concept and fumble it as much as they have. Hindered by its lack of an R-rating, Five Nights at Freddy’s is too tame and timid, promising a payoff that never truly arrives in any remotely satisfying way. Given a lower budget and a grittier/gorier atmosphere, this film could have been something worthwhile. Instead, it relies solely on jump scares that don't even raise a heartbeat.