The “Five Nights at Freddy’s” Movie


Warning: This article contains a mild amount of spoilers.

Since 2014, the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise has been a cultural phenomenon that overtook YouTube and changed how people viewed online gaming forever. Of course, a movie adaptation was the crystal-clear direction for the game’s future. Warner Brothers’ intentions to shift the game onto the silver screen were first teased to FNAF fanatics in 2015 after the game reached peak popularity.

The adrenaline rush that players got when playing the game for the first time set the game up for its non-expiring success. Naturally, when the movie was released on October 27, 2023, the theaters expected large audiences to attend. On top of the experience of playing the actual game, fans were pulled in even more when a fandom was formed to discuss the game’s “lore”, defined as a body of traditions and knowledge on a subject or held by a particular group.

The first "Five Nights at Freddy's" game

The lore of the game was developed through information given directly in the game and also the fandom’s dedication to interpretation.

The lore generally follows two men, Henry Emily and William Afton, who in 1967 start a chain of restaurants and businesses together while also combining their skills for building animatronics. But unexpectedly, William Afton turns out to be a little kooky and likes to murder children! With the purpose of covering up his tracks, he constructs a small compartment in all of the animatronics to stuff the bodies of the dead children, yikes! The children possess the animatronics and are under the control of William to murder more children to also put them in suits. The story is extremely complex and could make a knowledgeable fan talk for hours.

The director of the film, Emma Tammi, wanted to bring the intricate story to life. The movie was in the works for six years to perfect each word of the script, to build the sets accurately to the games, and to develop the eeriness one feels when watching.

Josh Hutcherson, known for his role as Peeta in the Hunger Games series, plays the movie’s antagonist, Mike Schmidt. Mike’s inner conflicts are the centerpieces that move the story forward. His main responsibility is raising his younger sister Abby after his parents passed for an unknown reason, likely suicide. As well, every night he dreams of an incident from when he was twelve years old when his younger brother Garret was kidnapped. The purpose of his dreams is to find the man responsible for his brother’s disappearance in hopes of getting justice.

Josh Hutcherson plays Mike Schmidt

After Mike obtains the job of the night security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, he jumps right into his worst nightmare. The movie is filled with just enough jumpscares to make shivers go down your spine without making it feel as if the production team just lazily lodged them in there. The swift shifts make it so you’re always on your feet and your eyes never leave the screen. Both audio and visual elements tease the viewers into making predictions for what is to come next. The entire film takes you on a rollercoaster, whether or not you know the background story.

The team did an excellent job of bringing what Generation Z now knows as nostalgia to life, literally! They even managed to incorporate some of the icons from the fandom into the movie; most notably MatPat, from the YouTube channel “The Game Theorists” as the diner waiter, and Coryxkenshin, also a YouTuber who appears later in the movie as the cab driver.

Mat Pat plays the diner waiter

Most importantly, each character plays their own important role and contributes to the plot development in their own ways. The attention to detail is what brings its success home.

Yet, of course, there still are criticisms. Some believe that the movie goes by too rapidly, which as a result can make it confusing for those who are not established enough with the game’s history. This is a completely valid opinion because the movie does switch scenes more quickly than what movie-goers are used to. Besides that, others have said it does not embody the true core of the game, horror. Critics and lovers of this genre believed it was not scary enough. The movie caters more towards having a complex plot instead of it being a stereotypical horror movie. Regardless of what people say online, it is important to note that the movie was made for the fans, not to set box-office records.

Therefore, it is recommended that if you are interested in seeing this movie, taking another ten minutes of your day to look up a quick summary of the game’s lore will heighten your overall enjoyment of the movie by a large factor. You will be capable of understanding more easter eggs–which there are a lot of by the way–and being able to connect the characters together.

The film comes full circle with the credit scene song being the iconic “Five Nights at Freddy’s” by The Living Tombstone. The FNAF fanatics who stayed to listen to the familiar song were greeted by a mid-credit scene where Coryxkenshin, the cab driver, is spooked by Balloon Boy, one of the characters from the “Five Nights at Freddy’s 2” game.

The original "Five Nights at Freddy's" song by the Living Tombstone

Theories of a sequel to this release making it into a series have already started to arise online. Especially since at the end of the credits, a creepy voice spells out the words, “come find me.” A film series would be a perfect fit since there is a total of nine FNAF games! The story extends even further than you could imagine.

It is hopeful to fans that the series will be continued even though the original creator Scott Cawthon has stepped down from his role and left the franchise to a successor.

The “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie can be watched at the Bellingham theater until November 20th or online on the Peacock streaming app.

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures