When Five Nights at Freddy’s was originally greenlit eight years ago, the task of adapting this video game into a movie was much simpler. This was still true when the series first started, it had no meaningful information, and was just a silly story about a night watchman trying to survive a week with a bunch of murderous animatronic animals in a worn-out Chuck E. Cheese’s. Location.
When Five Nights at Freddy’s is just that—and it is most of the time—it’s a lot of fun. Scary and weird animatronic nonsense is a really funny part of our culture and a great idea for a movie. But he can’t afford it Only Well, because the score has grown a ton since this project first started.
These days, Five Nights at Freddy’s is a fully fleshed-out universe with a slew of games and spin-offs like novels and comic books, and so there’s a metric ton of lore underneath it all. That’s a good thing for fans, but it’s made the adaptation much more difficult over the years, even with series creator Scott Cotton writing the script. And so the storytelling kind of ends at an awkward point.
At the heart of the story is Mike (Josh Hutcherson), a very violent and seemingly jaded man who gets his job as a security guard by beating up a random guy in the mall who he mistakenly thought was kidnapping a young boy. gives hands But even though he’s basically unemployed at this point, Mike has to take care of his little sister Abby. And so, at the urging of a dubious career counselor played by Matthew Lillard, Mike takes a new job that no one else wants: night security at the long-closed Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza.
Even if it wasn’t for a bunch of killer animatronic animal musicians living in the place, it would have been a terrible concert. The place is old, dark and full of flickering lights – not an ideal work environment. However, the animatronics bring it all together. Even when they’re not moving, or when they’re doing their usual routine of playing ‘talking in their sleep’ by The Romantics, they’re horribly shot. Honestly, almost every scene they appear in is a good one, and the way they wink menacingly at people who want to go after them is hilarious every time they do it.
An R rating, and all the gore that comes with it, could have been best experienced, but it ended up being PG-13 because Freddy’s has a very young core audience despite the gruesomely violent subject matter. It’s not a deal breaker though – director Tommy and co. It manages to sell the violence through sound and shadow rather than outright showing it, and it actually works most of the time, like when a character gets bitten in the middle.
The problem is storytelling. Mike isn’t just a broken, unstable loser who’s had a hard life – he’s on a lifelong crusade to find his little brother, who was kidnapped as a child and never heard from again. There is also Aunt Mike who wants to take custody of Abby. A very nice and helpful cop named Vanessa who seems to know everything about Freddie for unknown reasons also plays a major role. And there’s the fact that these robot animals love Abby more than they should and want to hang out with her all the time.
The whole thing is basically a remix of the current Five Nights at One Big Picture, borrowing elements from different places and using them somewhat differently. Very In some cases it is different. But it never really adds up to anything, because the movie has more than it can support. Or at least the finished cut does — it’s not hard to imagine a version of the film that’s 10-20 minutes longer and makes more sense. It’s a case of too many plot points and not enough story to properly develop them all, making the ending feel completely random.
It’s a shame, because Hutcherson, who is in almost every scene in the film, does a great job as the perpetually sleepy Mike. It’s not the most flattering role, as he was required to look like trash from start to finish, but it’s that aspect, along with Hutcherson’s tiresome performance, that gives the film a little lift before someone mentions Freddie Fazbear’s pizza. Even when the story goes off the rails, Hutcherson manages to hold most of the film together.
I hope next time, if there is a next time, I don’t have to.