Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF) was released on Oct. 27 at local theaters and on the streaming service Peacock. Viewers wanting to watch the movie on Peacock need to pay a monthly subscription, but it was a film that dedicated gamers of the franchise enjoyed. According to Box Office Mojo, the film brought in over $80 million on its release day, bringing the title for best horror film in October, surpassing Halloween (2018).
The film is based on a video game franchise revolving around nine Five Nights at Freddy’s games. The story follows Freddy Fazbears Pizzeria, a family-owned pizzeria in the early 80s. The pizzeria was co-owned by William Afton and Henry Emily. Although the pizza joint brought many customers and families, there were circling rumors that the pizzeria was involved in the kidnapping and murder of five children. Since the news arrived, the pizzeria shut down for good.
At the beginning of the film, we are introduced to Mike Schmidt, played by Josh Hutcherson, the protagonist, who deals with PTSD after the loss of his younger brother, Garrett. Having to deal with his neurological disorder, we are often shown consistent replays of moments before the disappearance of his younger brother. These flashback scenes were interesting (although repetitive) and felt needed for the story to understand better the franchise and how it all began. The casting for Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson) felt genuine, and the emotions he brought to the film felt raw and honest. Have you seen his movies, Zathura or Bridge to Terabithia? Those portrayals were so good!
As the story progresses, Mike discovers the suspenseful yet agonizing pain Freddy Fazbear’s pizzeria caused him and his evolving PTSD after starting his job as a nighttime security guard. We are then introduced to another character, Vanessa (she becomes an essential attribute to the storyline), played by Elizabeth Lail, a local police officer of the town surrounding the pizzeria. The plot thickens as we are introduced to the character Vanessa, who knows a little more about the pizzeria and the ins and outs of the company. The character casting of FNAF played out well. Many of you might know the Netflix series, You, the first season starring Elizabeth Lail. In the series, she was depicted as a bit more boy-crazy and does end up dying at the end of the season (spoiler alert). Although, in FNAF, her character was a strong independent character, a badass woman, if you will. She portrayed her character Vanessa well.
Let’s not forget the portrayal of every child depicted as the FNAF pizzeria animatronics. Being so young and so pure, even their portrayals as demonic and scary killers spooked me a bit! Even Abby, Mike’s younger sister, demonstrated vulnerability in a way not many child actors and actresses can uphold. The entire movie’s cast nailed the first film (hopefully, we will get to see many more). I’m excited to see how the franchise will continue to build a community surrounding the FNAF video game. Not to mention, Matthew Lillard nailed his portrayal as the innocent career counselor only to find out he is the…. (spoiler alert!)… Spring Bonnie.
I also liked how the film included popular content creators of the video game franchise, CoryxKenshin, and Matpat’s reference to “It’s just a theory!”. Including streamers and content creators felt like we were riding along their career journey. A film that similarly did this was Free Guy (2021). I think it’s important to acknowledge and include familiar faces in the video game industry and the impact they’ve created for the franchise.
I encourage anyone who has no clue on what Five Nights at Freddy’s is or, is interested in the suspenseful genre of movies, or wants to pass the time, to give it a watch. You will probably enjoy it (or not). Nevertheless, in my opinion, the plot and storyline, the casting, the realism, and the suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat, and hey, maybe you’ll want to play the game for yourself and indulge yourself in some Five Nights at Freddy’s lore.