Five Nights at Freddy's
by Emma Tammi
In August of 2014, Scott Cawthon published a video game full of jump scares inspired by the Chuck E. Cheese and Showbiz Pizza restaurants. The story of a night watchman surviving a week of working in a family pizzeria over run with killer animatronics out for blood. With the help of the let's play & theory community, Five Nights at Freddy's blew up and spawned game sequels, a entire library of books, and after years of being in development hell; a feature film.
Full disclosure, I am not a fan of the games or the books. I played the first one and it was fine, just very repetitive. The theory and lore that surrounds this property is so vast you can find You Tube videos that span hours! Now we're starting another version of the lore with the cinematic universe. The lore ain't my thing, I'll leave that up to MatPat. I'm here to talk movies.
Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson) is an unemployed security guard who is raising his younger sister, Abby (Piper Rubio), after the death of his parents. He's offered a night job at this run down pizza place by Steve Raglan (Matthew Lillard). The only thing he has to do is watch the monitors and keep people out. He's not alone, there's Freddy, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy, the animatronics that once entertained kids of all ages now haunt the restaurant. There's also Vanessa (Elizabeth Lail) a police officer who knows more about Freddy Fazbear's Pizza than she's letting on.
The movie expands the story. There is a back story of how Mike had a little brother who was kidnapped when he was a kid and Mike is using dream therapy to remember who took him. There's also a story line about Mike and Abby's aunt Jane (Mary Stuart Masterson) trying to get custody of Abby. These asides are kind of boring but they do help pad the story out and add to the body count.
Speaking of kills, the animatronics are the highlight of this movie. Created by Jim Henson's studios, these are practical puppets. Full sized suits that look like they stepped right off of the computer screen. They were menacing and perfect. The only problem I had was Foxy's walk. Foxy wasn't a suit so his walk felt a bit like when you would see Kermit's legs on The Muppet Show, oddly off putting.
The acting was impressive. I usually find kids in horror annoying but Piper Rubio was so good as Abby. You felt for her. The same with Josh Hutcherson as Mike. He's lost his brother, his parents, and has been thrust into a father role, not to mention dealing with an aunt who is an evil woman. I am also so glad for the return of Matthew Lillard to horror! I know us Scream fans are still holding out for the return of Stu Macher but I'll watch him in anything. He is so amazing and I know this isn't the last time I'll see him.
I have seen Willy's Wonderland, The Banana Splits, and the Hulu short The Hug and I can say that FNAF is better than most of them. Willy's Wonderland is still my favorite but how can anyone compete with Nic Cage kicking animatronic butt! Scott Cawthon caught lightening in a bottle with the release of the game and now, by the looks of the box office numbers, he has managed to do it again. Five Nights at Freddy's is now in theaters and streaming on Paramount Plus.
Robin Thompson, HMS