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The Thunderbeat

The Student News Site of Bellevue West Senior High School

The Thunderbeat

The Student News Site of Bellevue West Senior High School

The Thunderbeat

‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’: An adaptation that lacks any bite

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The+film+follows+a+troubled+security+guard+as+he+begins+working+at+Freddy+Fazbear%E2%80%99s+Pizza.+While+spending+his+first+night+on+the+job%2C+he+realizes+the+night+shift+at+Freddy%E2%80%99s+won%E2%80%99t+be+so+easy+to+make+it+through.
Peacock
The film follows a troubled security guard as he begins working at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. 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.

After years of being stuck in production limbo, the long awaited film adaptation of the hit indie-game “Five Nights at Freddy’s” finally made its theatrical and streaming debut on Oct. 27. Unfortunately though, the movie is a quite bland and cliche horror flick that only uses the popular property it’s named after as nothing more than a crutch. 

The movie follows down-on-his-luck security guard Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson) as he takes a dubious nighttime security job at the abandoned Chuck-E-Cheese-like restaurant Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza to provide for his younger sister Abby (Piper Rubio). But the more nights he spends there the more it becomes apparent to Mike that there is something wrong with Freddy’s and the four animatronics that are housed there. Along the way he also meets police officer Vanessa Monroe (Elizabeth Lail) who seems to know more than she lets on about Freddy’s and the tragedies that occurred there several years ago. 

The premise for a solid thriller is there, but the story drags for most of its runtime and is filled with tired cliches and tropes. The story doesn’t really begin to pick up its pace until the 40 minute mark, with most of the preceding time having been devoted to Mike just starting the job at Freddy’s and his custody battle with his aunt. By the time the plot does pick up and the animatronics do become a threat to our characters it comes to a screeching halt again after a few flickers of excitement, and then crawls until the final 25 minutes. 

The movie also suffers from serious tonal whiplash in certain scenes. Half the time the movie is trying to be a dark and violent thriller, but then it will throw in a scene that feels like it came out of an entirely different movie. One moment the animatronics may brutally murder some criminals that break into the restaurant, and in another they build a fort with the main characters in a cutesy montage. It makes it feel as if the film isn’t sure whether it wants to be geared towards a more mature audience, or a younger pre-teen and teenage audience.

One might think that the four animatronics Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy would be the main attraction of the film, seeing as they are the faces of the franchise and front and center in all of the marketing. The animatronics are given little to do in the movie though, and they are really only a threat to the characters in one 10 minute scene and the final climax of the film. Other than these few moments of excitement the animatronics don’t really do much and are mostly sidelined.

Mike also lacks any real development for his character throughout the story. Throughout the movie it’s shown through dream sequences that Mike feels guilt over not being able to stop the abduction of his brother when they were children, but this never segues into any actual development for him. His guilt is pushed aside though as his dreams are instead used as a contrived plot device instead, propelling the story forward and leaving his character arc in the dust.

Despite being based on a horror game, the film lacks any real horror or suspense. It’s apparent that the movie is trying to be scary, but most of its scares mostly come off as annoying or predictable. At certain points the movie threw in a pointless jumpscare, despite nothing actually happening to warrant it. The movie feels desperate to keep your attention, but can’t seem to find a compelling way to do so.

The climax and conclusion of the movie are both incredibly rushed. The movie takes its sweet time dragging the plot along and then tries to wrap everything up in the last 25 minutes. It’s in this chunk of time that the movie does anything but go off the rails.

“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is a series that is nearly a decade old now, and despite having an extensive story and lore across several entries the movie takes advantage of almost none of it. The movie opts for the generic premise of “a struggling parental figure has to take care of a child that they don’t connect with, but the events of the plot will strengthen their bond.” While it keeps the baseline of the series’ story with the reason why the animatronics are possessed, it ignores all of the elements that would make for a far more interesting movie.

If there’s anything positive to say about the movie it’s that the practical effects are well done. Rather than being CGI the animatronics are actual machines that were constructed for the production. Even though their movement can seem limited at times during the film’s more action heavy sequences, it’s nice to see more practical effects in major movies.

Overall, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” is a film that despite some impressive practical effects suffers from a plethora of issues. The movie squanders the opportunities provided by its source material, and instead opts for a more generic and played out story filled with poor pacing, a static main character, and ineffective scares.

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