The Five Nights At Freddy’s Movie Doesn’t Utilize What Made The Games So Scary

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WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Five Nights at Freddy’s.


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Summary

  • Blumhouse’s Five Nights at Freddy’s film fails to capture the thrilling essence of the game, lacking in horror and predictable jump scares.
  • The movie diverges from the original premise of the game, focusing on the extensive lore and neglecting the confined and suspenseful atmosphere.
  • By shifting the focus away from Mike’s struggle for survival and instead exploring the origin story and relationships, the film loses its scary factor and fails to deliver genuine shock value.

Blumhouse’s live-action adaptation of Five Nights at Freddy’s falls short of capturing the thrilling essence of the video game, a feat easily achievable by leveraging the very elements that made the games a success. The film diverges from the game’s narrative, following Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson), on a mission to find the man who kidnapped his brother, Garrett, rather than searching for his father. Mike gets work as a night guard at the abandoned family diner known as Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, where things aren’t as they seem.

Whether Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 will happen remains to be announced, but Five Nights at Freddy’s reviews note the film’s failure to deliver the expected horror and highlight its predictable storyline. This absence of horror is particularly surprising given the game’s reputation for inducing heart-pounding suspense and fear. While the video games have players jumping out of their seats when the animatronics pop onto the screen, Five Nights at Freddy‘s ending twists struggle to evoke the same response. Examining the storyline of the film reveals why it falls short of matching the game’s ability to terrify its audience.

Five Nights At Freddy’s Movie Lost The Scary Security Cameras Perspective

Mike Schmidt watches the security cameras in Five Nights at Freddy's.

Instead of sticking to the original premise of Mike monitoring the animatronics’ movements over the five nights, the adaptation delves deeper into the extensive lore of the Five Nights at Freddy’s gaming franchise. The games have players controlling Mike in a point-and-click survival horror game, safeguarding Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza from 12 a.m. to 6 a.m., as seen in the film. What intensifies the game’s thrill factor is the meticulous monitoring of the animatronics, with a limited amount of resources to use.

Related: Five Nights At Freddy’s Mid-Credits Scene Explained

Players must track the unique patterns of the different animatronics, decide which door to close, and turn the monitor on and off, all while making sure the power reserve doesn’t run out. When a player fails at these tasks, the animatronics breach the office, triggering a frightening jump scare, signaling the end of the game. It’s this sense of confinement within a single space, coupled with the constant surveillance of monitors, doors, power reserves, and eerie sounds, that is the very essence that makes the game frightening. If the film had embraced this confined and limited resource atmosphere from the game, it would have significantly amplified the horror experience.

The Five Nights At Freddy’s Is Less Scary With Its Different Focus

Freddy Fazbear, Chica, and Bonnie stand on stage in Five Nights at Freddy's.

With the movie focusing on the origin story of the animatronics and the relationship between Mike and his sister, the horror in the movie falls flat. The movie seems overly eager to establish the Five Nights at Freddy’s extensive universe immediately, neglecting the gradual build-up that a franchise can offer. The jump scares are far too predictable, with very little suspense leading up to them.

Additionally, the plot’s revelations lack any genuine shock value. The Five Nights at Freddy’s movie rushes into its extensive lore, spanning nine video games and three graphic novels in the first film. Had Five Nights at Freddy’s kept its central focus on Mike’s struggle for survival each night against increasingly relentless animatronics, the horror factor could have left a more profound impact.