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The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ fails to scare

Movie adaptation of this horror game is better as a comedy than a thriller

“Five Nights at Freddy’s,” the long-awaited film adaptation of the popular game franchise, brings audiences into the haunted world of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. As I have played and enjoyed the game in the past, I rushed to buy tickets to see Freddy on the big screen, hoping to relive the adrenaline-rush kind of terror that had always kept me glued to my computer.

The movie loses all hope for an eerie mystique in a strange scene where the animatronics, the scariest presence in the film, become friendly and build a fort with the main characters. (Photo from Universal Pictures)

In the dark movie theater, I positioned myself on the literal edge of my seat, anxiously awaiting a movie that would surely keep me on my toes, like the game always had. Yet, when it finally began and the scenes unfolded before me, I found myself disappointedly sinking back further and further into my chair. Although the film was enjoyable, I realized there was no point in being on edge – I was not the least bit scared of the predictable plot line that got more confusing and less eerie as the movie droned on. 

The storyline follows Mike, a security guard tasked with surveying an abandoned establishment named Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. Josh Hutcherson’s performance as Mike carried – he convincingly portrayed the character’s slow progression to insanity throughout the film and was by far the best actor. Hutcherson’s acting was a general draw for audiences, a phenomenon clearly demonstrated by the millions of edits made of him on TikTok. 

Still, one actor cannot save a whole movie. The film plot introduces some creative twists and turns that stray from the game’s original lore, perhaps trying to provide fresh surprises for both avid fans and newcomers alike. 

However, many of these deviations did little to enhance the story and instead muddled the narrative. The dream plot could have been intriguing if it had only been executed more clearly. Instead, the mystery introduced felt more like a distraction than a compelling addition, leaving me longing for the straightforward suspense that characterized the game I was used to playing.  

Another expectation left unsatisfied was that nights at the haunted pizzeria themselves would have more haunt. After all, horror was the genre the movie creators claimed, was it not? In particular, I kept waiting for someone to die during one of the “Five Nights at Freddy’s”, just like in the game. Disappointingly, the only time the animatronics actually kill any unsuspecting victim is in broad daylight, which makes no sense given the very nature of the franchise. All these changes left me more perplexed than terrified, and the ending somehow remained predictable. 

The film does have notable strengths. An important one lies in its faithful recreation of the eerie and claustrophobic ambiance that fans of the game, like myself, have grown to love. The animatronics steal the show, and I spent the entire movie wondering how they moved. Controlled solely by puppeteers, they were nothing short of mesmerizing. Each twitch, turn and eerily synchronized movement sent shivers down my spine, effectively recapturing the uncanny and ominous presence of the characters I always feared in the game. 

Easter eggs, hidden gems for the fans, were also peppered throughout the movie. From subtle nods to the franchise’s lore to an iconic cameo by YouTuber MatPat, these elements brought a smile to my face. It was a reassuring reminder that the filmmakers understood the fanbase and were dedicated to delivering a nostalgic trip.

Although there were many positives, the film stumbled where it mattered most for a horror enthusiast – the scares. Despite the tension-building moments, the jump scares failed to deliver on that promise, lacking the punch that made the game’s nights so terrifying. Predictability often overshadowed the genuine thrill, leaving me waiting for the heart-pounding moments that should have lingered long after the credits rolled. 

If you are looking for a scare, save yourself a letdown and revisit the game for a more authentic dose of “Five Nights at Freddy’s” horror. That being said, for viewers who go in expecting a comedy or just a good time, this movie is perfectly enjoyable with many laughs and plenty of clever nods to the deep lore of the beloved franchise.

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About the Contributor
Nicole Pimenta Innecco
Nicole is a senior and a third-year staffer for The Epitaph. She loves the opportunity the newspaper has given her to engage with her community in unique ways and to learn all the different stories and viewpoints on campus. Outside of the paper, she can often be found falling into rabbit holes of research on random topics or finding new places to explore.

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