Five Nights at Freddy’s: a film that has divided a fanbase

Five Nights at Freddy’s as a game series was genre defining for indie horror.

Some estimate the franchise before the film was worth £100 million and with 14 games, 28 books and too many characters to even count this isn’t surprising.

Exploding into the popular sphere in 2014, there has been huge demand for more games and in turn this film.

It was a highly anticipated film and long awaited release yet the ratings are hit and miss.

At the time of writing IMDb gives it a score of 5.6/10, the Tomatometer is sat on 26 per cent but the audience score is on 89 per cent.

Here is my take; be warned there are spoilers and some complex lore and backstory ahead.

Five Nights at Freddy’s Official Poster (Image taken from Universal Pictures)

In short, the film follows Mike, a man in need of a job, who takes over the night guard shift at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza Place.

It is revealed that as a child he saw his brother be taken and he was never found yet through Mike’s dreams he is able to find out more information about it via the dream theory – explained later.

Throughout the film it seems he may lose custody of his sister Abby to her auntie (a story point I’m not sure is needed as it doesn’t add much) and Abby ends up becoming friends with the animatronics.

This ultimately leads to the climax of the film where it is revealed that the main killer of the series, Michal Afton, has control over the animatronics and tries to kill Abby to put her in a character suit like the rest of his victims.

I love these games and the film opening was a huge nostalgia hit.

Within the first 20 minutes there was a mention of dream theory – an idea first mentioned to explain the games backstory which many fans hated – which I assumed had just been put in the films just for a laugh yet became one of the defining parts of the film – a divisive start yet one I enjoyed.

The dream theory here is used in a different way to what is was in the games and is done to allow Mike to see back to the day he lost his brother to try and piece together what happened.

Cameos from YouTube creators such as MatPat from Game Theory and having an employee wall of even more FNaF YouTubers was unexpected yet showed the real community that has been created in the nine years since the games creation.

But, throughout the positive start, this film simply isn’t scary.

I know the backstory of the game and so I knew when Abby, Mike’s sister, was around the animatronics that she would be fine as my knowledge of the backstory of the games is the ghost children inside the animatronic suits wouldn’t hurt a child unless tampered with my William Acton, the killer of the series.

Yet, my whole childhood experience of playing these games was having these horrifying characters trying to kill me so seeing them here playing, singing, dancing and being all round good people really ruined the horror aspect of the film.

The ending on the other hand was interesting.

Again from a nostalgic point of view seeing the character of Springtrap come to life was enthralling  – I knew it was going to be Matthew Lillard in the suit because as a huge series fan I researched the actors involved which ruined the surprise which other fans may get but that is a self inflicted spoiler I found for myself.

What wasn’t mentioned in my brief synopsis earlier is the character of Vanessa, a confusing character who is the police officer for the area who spent a lot of time in Freddy’s as a child as she is Afton’s daughter.

Despite my acceptable knowledge of the franchise this is not something I saw coming, Vanessa/Vanny played a small roll in the FNaF game Security Breach so seeing this possible reveal was definitely an exciting way to revive my interest in the film.

For people without knowledge of the games and franchise as a whole some lore/backstory points may go unnoticed.

But, for die-hard fans looking for a fun movie it offers a good mix of nostalgia, cameos and interesting talking points for the franchise going forward as this film also is set up nicely for a sequel.

For mainstream horror fans this may be one to avoid as on the whole it isn’t scary at all.

With those points being said it makes giving this film an overall rating very difficult.

Due to how long I waited to see this film, the nostalgia and interesting plot but lack of overall horror means I will settle on a 7/10.

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