Leander High School's online student-run newspaper

The Roar

Leander High School's online student-run newspaper

The Roar

Leander High School's online student-run newspaper

The Roar

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An Unfortunate Five Nights

A review on the movie adaptation of “Five Nights at Freddy’s”
An+Unfortunate+Five+Nights
Ben Bailey

“Five Nights at Freddy’s” was released on October 27, 2023 by Universal Pictures in theaters and on Peacock. It follows Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson) who lands a job as a nighttime security guard at the rundown Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. Mike took the job despite the minimum wage and long hours for the benefit of his little sister. Though the job was seemingly a walk in the park, Mike quickly discovered the horrific past that haunted the dark halls of the once beloved family franchise.

The movie has been anticipated for years by fans of the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” game, which was released in August of 2014 by game developer Scott Cawthon, who was a screenwriter for the movie. Although the game is known for having one of the largest internet fan bases, the movie was made to reach all audiences, including those who have never played or even heard of the games. 

As an avid fan of the franchise, I was thrilled when the first trailer came out and joined many others in expressing their excitement all over the internet. I marked my calendar and waited out the months until I was finally able to see the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie. Once I sat down in front of the big screen, the lights dimmed and the opening credits began. Although I went into the movie with high hopes, I also prepared myself for some disappointment after seeing the negative reviews and opinions. 

Mike got a job as a security guard so he could continue paying for his house and supporting his younger sister, Abby, who he had been taking care of since their parents passed away. Mike’s career counselor, Steve Raglan (Matthew Lillard), offered the job position to Mike after an incident at his last job which resulted in him getting fired. During Mike’s first shift, Raglan informs him over the phone about the building and the history that it holds, as well as the animatronics that live there.

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Off the bat, I was very excited when it was announced that Matthew Lillard, who starred in the “Scream” franchise as one of the main antagonists, and Josh Hutcherson, well known for his role as Peeta Mellark in the “Hunger Games” series, were going to be in the movie. 

My favorite aspect of the movie was without a doubt the animatronics. The amount of detail that was put into the costumes and robots was truly breathtaking and didn’t stray away from their game designs in the slightest. I felt so much nostalgia from my childhood seeing each of the perfectly executed animatronics on screen. 

The movie also included multiple easter eggs from the games, which could easily be overlooked by those who haven’t played them, but I appreciate how they were able to reach fans and keep the movie simple to understand for anyone who didn’t catch the easter eggs. These included appearances from well-known YouTube stars, such as Matthew Patrick, also known as Matpat, from the channel Game Theory and Cory Kenshin who is another gaming YouTuber, which was a pleasant surprise as someone who grew up watching their content. 

Along with the casting and physical details, the music and lighting for the movie was amazing. There was a good amount of suspense created through the background music, and I have to give props to the song decision for the ending credits, of course.

Although there were many great aspects to the film, there were also some letdowns. They tried to create a storyline with Mike and Abby’s Aunt Jane, but it was lost as the movie progressed and it felt very out of place. In my opinion, she could’ve been cut from the movie entirely and not much would’ve been changed. It could’ve left more room for other characters such as Max, Abby’s babysitter played by Kat Connor Sterling, who came out on social media to tell us about how her character’s storyline was almost cut entirely. It was disappointing to hear and I think that they could’ve actually done more with her. In general, screentime for certain characters was one of my main critiques, another one being the man himself, William Afton, the main antagonist of the film. Considering how important his character is to the storyline, the few appearances he made left the film feeling quite rushed and lazy. There was just a lack of balance from each storyline that was introduced and it felt very messy. 

The movie lived up to its PG-13 rating, and though I understand that a large portion of the fanbase are within the younger age range, it would’ve been such a better film if they targeted it to more mature audiences. They created a sort of “buddy-buddy” relationship between the animatronics and Abby, which is seen in one of the trailers for the movie. The concept made sense considering that the animatronics are haunted by children’s souls, but the suspense was lost entirely. I didn’t feel like I was watching a horror movie. rather it felt like I was watching an episode of Barney and Friends. The jumpscares were mediocre and expected which was extremely disappointing considering that the original games are known for their jumpscares.

Overall, I’d give this movie a 6.5/10. I recommend it to anyone who has followed the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise over the years, purely for the nostalgia factors and easter eggs that fans can pick up on. However, if you don’t know anything about the games or haven’t heard of it before the movie came out, don’t see it. Even as a fan, I was left confused and rather disappointed in the end, and many others have expressed similar experiences. There are two more movies that have been confirmed by Blumhouse Productions set to come out within the next couple years, and I have hope that the writers and producers will redeem themselves.

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About the Contributor
Lelah Moeller, Reporter
Lelah is a senior and a first year reporter, though she has guest written for The Roar. Aside from journalism, Lelah is heavily involved in the Theater Arts program here at Leander. This year marks her fourth year being an inductee of the International Thespian Society, and her second year as a House Leader for the LHS Thespian Club. She spent a total of 10 years playing volleyball before quitting the sport, primarily playing as a middle blocker. Lelah enjoys writing about her passions, such as child development and psychology which she plans on attending college for after senior year.