Directed by: Emma Tammi
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Written by Alexander Reams
Sometimes when the credits roll on a film a question will enter my head; “Did I just watch a completely different movie than everyone else?” This happened with the video game adaptation of the internet-famous “Five Nights at Freddy’s.” A film that was maybe designed for critical revilement from the get-go. The source material is not only aimed towards children, but is admittedly very basic- and it serves the gameplay well, and allows for organic jump scares. While the film adaptation certainly doesn’t go as basic, it does maintain the ideology of a simple plot.
Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson) has a rough life, consistent sleeping issues, an aunt that has the same villainous aura as Ursula, and wants to steal his sister, Abby (Piper Rubio), in the name of money. After he loses his security job, he visits career counselor Steve Raglan (Matthew Lillard). Who sets Mike up with a job at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, a once-famous pizza joint, complete with giant animatronic mascots. Lillard’s Raglan is wonderfully droll and creepy, and it’s obvious that Lillard had a complete ball with this role, and rightfully so. His range is iconic and is utilized to its fullest extent throughout the 109-minute runtime.
“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is ultimately a showcase for the Jim Henson Creature Shop and their wonderful animatronic puppetry that brings the iconic mascots to life in a non-CGI method. That level of commitment to an adaptation could validate this film’s existence, and the argument would be strong. However, what technical proficiency is shown during the more intense scenes, including the gargantuan cinematography by Lyn Moncrief on the Alexa 65, is hampered by plain and simple boredom. It’s the ultimate sin for any film. Bad is at least memorable, but “Five Nights at Freddy’s” sets itself firmly in the slow and boring camp early on and only briefly steps out of it, during the dream sequences and a few moments as the story wraps up. It’s a film that should go out with a roar, especially for the start of a franchise, but all that is heard is a whimper.
“Five Nights at Freddy’s” Trailer