Five Nights At Freddy’s has been a video game phenomenon for quite some time. A creepy animatronic fest, both in-game and in this adaptation from Blumhouse and Peacock, may have the immediate visuals of the game, but does it do anything with it?
Directed by Emma Tammi and written by Tammi, Scott Cawthon, and Seth Cuddeback, Five Nights At Freddy’s follows a troubled security guard, Mike (Josh Hutcherson), as he begins working at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. The film stars Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Lail, Piper Rubio, Kat Conner Sterling, with Mary Stuart Masterson and horror icon Matthew Lillard.
Pretty much incapable of holding down a different job, Mike just needs to get by and take care of his little sister, Abby (Piper Rubio). Only Abby talks to imaginary friends and raises flags at school and with their aunt, who is looking to take her off of Mike’s hands and pocket the check, too. But, his insomnia, fueled by unending dreams about the most traumatic moment of his life, makes a night gig at a dilapidated pizza joint the answer. While spending his first night on the job, he realizes the night shift at Freddy’s won’t be so easy to make it through as the animatronics begin to move, and even stranger, more supernatural events point out how he’s always been connected to Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza.
The best part about Five Nights At Freddy’s is its iconic animatronic characters which were created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Each of the creatures captures the video game and the creepy, uncanny horror they illicit just by moving. They’re all weird and ugly and horrifying, and yet, they seem underutilized at the same time. While the animatronics are fantastic, their inability to push the story farther in its genre trappings is par for the course of the film.
Five Nights At Freddy’s isn’t bad. It’s just, well, boring. For a film with as ridiculous a concept, a runway for camp, or the ability to go hard on the gore and horror, it’s all too tame. It’s not weird enough, not scary enough, not absurd enough, and in the end, it’s just not enough. While the lack of direction or personality will work with some younger audiences, just looking for the characters in a game they play, the subject matter itself makes me question the target audience of the film.
We all knew that Five Nights At Freddy’s wasn’t going to be made for the Academy Awards, but it had the premise and ability to become a cult classic, much like the video game it’s based on. But to do so, it needed to be bigger, louder, and, more importantly, weirder. I can see where the film could have had a personality instead of just relying on its visuals, which are genuinely well done. But that’s what makes boring worse than bad in my book.
For their part, the cast does what they can. Hutcherson is a troubled older brother who feels his trauma deeply but, at the same time, isn’t sure how to cope with it all. At the same time, Rubio is curious, innocent, and very charismatic throughout the entire film. While their chemistry doesn’t necessarily work every time they’re on screen, they mostly figure it out.
Ultimately, Five Nights At Freddy’s saving grace for it is that it’s immediately available on Peacock. While it may not live up to the ambition of the project or the IP, it is perfect for the Halloween season. Just the right amount spooky, even without being truly scary, it can work for a night in.
Five Nights At Freddy’s is playing in theaters now and streaming on Peacock.
Five Nights At Freddy's
Five Nights At Freddy’s saving grace for it is that it’s immediately available on Peacock. While it may not live up to the ambition of the project or the IP, it is perfect for the Halloween season. Just the right amount spooky, even without being truly scary, it can work for a night in.