Where’s the jumpscares? A critical review of “Five Nights at Freddy’s”, the movie
Many Gen Z-ers reached ultimate nostalgia when the movie “Five Nights at Freddy’s” was released on Oct. 27, 2023.
The plot detailed a lore-accurate sequence, containing “The Bite of ‘87” and the kidnapping of the original five children-turned-animatronics.
However, there was no spine-chilling gore. Audiences missed the familiarity of animatronic characters lunging at the screen as monstrous screams filled the air. And while there was an appearance of “MatPat,” the fandom’s most accredited game theorist, the token “King of Five Nights at Freddy’s” Markiplier was missing from the film.
Evidently, fans and critics felt let down.
“Blumhouse’s ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ film fails to capture the thrilling essence of the game, lacking in horror and predictable jump scares,” said Emma Wagner, a writer for Screen Rant.
Wagner has a point. Even the “most scary moment,” Foxy running after the security guard who was hopelessly attempting to escape the exit door, induced a slight heart-rate rise at best.
The movie is based on the original and first game of the series. Yet, when comparing the degree of terror, it falls significantly short.
“No other game has given me a greater feeling of dread than this one,” Markiplier said about his first gameplay. “‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ is incredibly unique and takes an approach to horror that I’ve never experienced before.”
The movie is rated PG-13, after all. It is evident that Scott Cawthon, the creator of the video game and its movie adaptation, produced a film that focused primarily on the storyline of the first game. In turn, we learned quite extensively about the main characters and even some of their upbringings. But why does it feel like a trade-off for the eeriness that Five Nights at Freddy’s is known for?
Despite the rather large number of critics jumping up and down waiting for some type of explanation from Cawthon or quite literally anyone, there hasn’t been a clear answer. Therefore, we are left to wallow in dissatisfaction.
But oh joy! The dissatisfaction doesn’t end there. Why the hell wasn’t the King of Five Nights at Freddy’s in the movie?
The answer is quite simple and arguably underwhelming, though. In a gameplay of the fan game Fazbear Nights, Markiplier explained that the reason he would not appear in the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie is merely because of a scheduling overlap with the production of his own movie “Iron Lung.”
“Unfortunately, it was one of those things where I needed every second that I had to make my movie what it needed to be,” Markiplier said. “I had to make a call because I wouldn’t expect them to compromise the quality of their project for me, just in the same way I would hope they wouldn’t expect me to compromise my movie for them.”
So, no, there isn’t any juicy drama between Cawthon and Markiplier. And who knows? Maybe we’ll see him in the alleged release of the second “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie.
Amidst all the shortcomings the film seems to possess, it must receive credit where credit is due. The storyline was everything it needed to be, we all loved our generation’s heartthrob Josh Hutcherson as the protagonist and those insanely detailed animatronic suits? Impeccable.
Seriously, imagine being in the same room as those things. According to NBC Insider, director Emma Tammi and Robert Bennett of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop had an “obsessive attention to detail.” That adds up.
The easter eggs mustn’t be forgotten either. When Steve Raglan revealed himself as William Afton and delivered Springtrap’s signature line “I always come back,” jaws did drop.
If a second “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie does release and Cawthon takes all the criticism, we may have ourselves a “banger” of a film adaptation. One done right. Until then, though, we shall continue to dissect the movie over and over and over again. Because that’s what fans of “Five Nights at Freddy’s” do— just check out GiBi’s Good Idea Bad Idea’s 8 hour YouTube video explaining the game’s lore. “A short introduction,” he called it. Before we conclude this compliment sandwich of a review, let’s see if the universal audience opinion lines up. As of Nov. 29, roughly two months later, Rotten Tomatoes has coined the movie as 30% on the tomatometer and has an audience score of 87%. The site’s “Critics Consensus” is that the movie “may be fun to watch for fans of the game,” but is ultimately “muddled and decidedly unscary.” Yep. Enough said.