Right off the bat, if you’ve never played Five Nights at Freddy’s, you can watch the live-action movie. This is coming from somebody who has had this franchise in their life for almost a decade. I’m not a hardcore fan but I know enough to get the references and recognize how this movie was built to honor the OG content. That’s why I say that if you’ve never played the games or read the books, you’ll be fine while watching Five Nights at Freddy’s. In fact, I think it’s going to get so many new people playing the games and learning about the lore. Plus it will reinvigorate the fandom.
I think one of my favorite things when it comes to the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie is the attention to detail. Everything has a purpose and the designs are enough that OG fans will understand everything but new fans will also pick up on the clues that are being dropped through the design. Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza is haunting yet someplace that you know kids would hang out at. The animatronics are super creepy and exactly what I would expect from animatronics that have been sitting there for God knows how long. But even then, they find a balance between not looking cheap but also looking realistic and honoring where it came from.
Then there’s the talent. I always welcome another opportunity to see Josh Hutcherson on my screen. He’s always willing and able to sell every single story he’s in and make you invest. And the same thing goes for Five Nights at Freddy’s where by the end of it you want him to succeed and just find his way through the pain that he’s experiencing throughout the movie. The same thing goes for his younger sister played by Piper Rubio and the cop played by Elizabeth Lail they meet along the way. These people are in pain and as most people know, those kinds of people congregate together. And I feel like the actors and the characters lift each other up within Five Nights at Freddy’s to create something that kind of feels…heartfelt.
Personally, I can’t believe that I’m calling Five Nights at Freddy’s heartfelt but there is depth to the story that needs to be acknowledged. Sure there are giant animatronics that are moving about and killing people. But that’s not what this story is only about. This live-action adaptation is people trying their best and messing up when they realize what they have in their lives. It’s about wishing that you could change things and then understanding that you can’t. And it’s also about giving a voice to those who have been kept silent for a very very long time.
Again, I can’t believe that I’m waxing poetic about the emotional depth of Five Nights at Freddy’s but I read those savage critic reviews over on Rotten Tomatoes and I had to say something. Because guess what? I’M A TOMATO-METER APPROVED CRITIC TOO! *deep breath* Ok, back on track.
There are so many video game adaptations out there and 99% of the time they go wrong and are a big hot mess no matter how much money studios throw at them. The same thing goes for anime to TV or movie adaptations. But we just saw One Piece transition from manga and anime to our screens and it was delightful. I thought that was a rare occurrence. But if it feels like Five Nights at Freddy’s might be joining One Piece in being an actually decent adaptation. I guess that’s what happens when you have OG creator Scott Cawthorn working on the screenplay.
This brings me to the last thing I wanted to talk about when it comes to Five Nights at Freddy’s. If you’re an OG fan, of course, you’re going to notice the differences in the lore. Change is always inevitable when transitioning from one medium to another. But I love that Cawthorne was involved and they were able to take something they’ve worked on for a very long time and maybe breathe some new life into it. And that’s okay. Because of this, I hope that OG fans give Five Nights at Freddy’s a chance and see the love and attention that was put into something that we have had in our lives for almost a decade.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is now in theaters and on Peacock.