Featuring: Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Lail, Kat Conner Sterling, Piper Rubio, with Mary Stuart Masterson and Matthew Lillard
Director: Emma Tammi
In Cinemas: Now
Based on the horror video game phenomenon Five Nights at Freddy’s, it becomes the latest franchise to be adapted for film. It follows a troubled security guard as he begins working at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. While spending his first night on the job, he realises the night shift at Freddy’s won’t be easy. This movie has a promising concept but failed in its execution, with some pacing issues and an inability to remain mildly entertaining. But to start positively, the production design and visuals are flawless; the animatronics look great, as if plucked right out of the video game; they captured the actuality of that creepy abandoned look that is always present whenever we see the restaurant’s exterior or venture inside. It creates a sense of realism by placing the viewer in a scenario that leads to unexpected elements of caution and unpredictability. This arcade, meant for kids, is now being overrun by these giant killer robots designed to bring children joy and happiness, but instead, they are the opposite. Sometimes, the cinematography can be over-the-top and a little too artistic and unnecessary in certain parts; it almost feels like a TV movie when it doesn’t need to be anything other than a straight horror film.
After the first 20 minutes into the movie, the introduction to Josh Hutcherson’s character, Mike, was terrible. He makes some questionable decisions early on that are attempted to be justified by revealing certain things to us as the film progresses. The situation isn’t very likeable, as is the presentation of some of the characters; at times, it feels awkward during dialogue-heavy scenes when lines are delivered as if they are reading directly from the script instead of being natural. Hutcherson gives an all-rounded, mediocre performance with little or no enthusiasm; it was almost like he was made to act in this against his own will. The writing and direction didn’t help with that either in having any connection or chemistry with the other cast members, and it lacked emotion and energy. Subplots are introduced to help tie it in with the existing one, which is needed to a specific aspect to make the story clear. But, it takes a wholly obscure and bizarre approach to make it so challenging to shoehorn it somehow that it felt unnecessary when it should have been clear and straightforward. Instead, the build-up of the film constantly involves weird twists to the point where it keeps happening, and frustration begins rising at the thought of the filmmakers not being true to the original video game.
There are plenty of eye-rolling moments where people get chased by these mechanical robots through and down the restaurant’s hallway, and they run into the nearest room to be safe. The ignorance and the lack of originality in the scriptwriting are insulting to horror film fans, and it is always persistent. The convoluted plot is always backed up with these obvious and predictable outcomes that can instantly be solved when introduced to new and existing characters. When we arrive at the emotional attempt of an ending, there isn’t any of it because there was never any hint of this happening, and it kind of just came from nowhere and was very unexpected, almost like it was added into the script at the last second. Five Nights at Freddy’s focuses too much on the script, making the storyline dull and messy when it isn’t necessary; the emphasis should be on the genre of horror and intent to disturb and frighten audiences. But it lacked every aspect; there were no jump scares, only maybe one gore scene, and it was nearly on the verge of becoming a drama. It was disappointing and not in any way entertaining; the animatronics and visuals were the only cool thing about this bore fest.