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The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

Freddy on the Big Screen: “Five Nights at Freddy’s”


If you’re like me, you have probably been waiting for this movie for nearly a decade. Yeah, that’s right, the first “Five Nights at Freddy’s” game came out in 2014. The hype for this movie had me redownloading games, catching up, rewatching “Game Theory” and reminiscing on the insanity of the lore, all for a lackluster attempt at horror.

Before you get mad at me for speaking badly about this movie, let me remind you that I have been in the trenches of this fanbase from the start, pre-COVID/TikTok era. I went into this movie thinking it was rated PG-13 in the same sense that the Barbie movie was, so that it could appeal to a broader audience while catering to an older one. I don’t think this is the case. Really the only word I have to sum up this movie is: Goofy. After the movie, my jaw dropped because I thought it was so bad. Now, I think that it was camp, but I don’t think that was the intention.

There will be spoilers from this point forward, so be warned. My biggest complaint: the Tudor March did not play during the movie once, which is insane since it was in the trailer. Again, I would like to put a disclaimer here, I was a robotics kid in high school, and I think the animatronics in this movie were sick. It was genuinely so cool to see Freddy and the gang come to life. But I could not take them seriously. Freddy biting Max in half? The Cupcake? The scariest part of this movie was when Mike was standing in the circle of the animatronics and the camera was panning around. That tension and realization was real and terrifying. The rest? Goofy. However, Vanessa’s picture with Mike’s brother’s airplane next to her father in the Springtrap suit is very unsettling and conveys a sickening feeling that the rest of the movie was missing.

What this movie did really well was play off of the nostalgia and sentiment of older fans. Some of these include references to Sparky the Dog, Shadow Freddy, Atari-style minigames, Balloon Boy jumpscares and of course “It’s me” and William Afton’s line “I always come back.” I’m not sure how your theaters were, but I was at the Carlisle Commons for opening night on October 26, and the crowd could not seem to care less about MatPat’s cameo, but I was freaking out. Hands down the best part of the movie, along with hearing the Living Tombstone’s song play over the end credits. I was devastated to hear that due to scheduling conflicts, Markiplier was unable to star in the movie as the first security guard. 

I also loved the use of the dream theory in the movie. This was an early interpretation of the game that served as a major plot point in this movie, as Mike Schmidt tried to find the man who kidnapped his brother. Speaking of Schmidt, the stutter over the last name during his job search was so good. Schmidt or Afton? Both! Loved it, good foreshadowing.

I think that the cast and performances were fine, I was very excited for Josh Hutcherson and Matthew Lillard, but Elizabeth Lail really put her all into this movie and took it almost too seriously. 

Now I did not read the Five Nights at Freddy’s books. Remnant and everything is kind of going way over my head. I’m classic, old school if you will, but I trust MatPat with my life so whatever he has to say goes, and it looks like that is the direction that the movie series will be going in. That’s right, series! Matthew Lillard has signed a three-film contract! 

I don’t want to get too into theories for the directions of the next films, because I do not feel that I am equipped to do so, however I would like to mention a few. I initially thought that the spring-lock suit that Chica tried putting Abby into was Circus Baby, but the animatronic is eerily similar to the one in the Fazbear Frights third book, “1:35 A.M.” I also thought that Vanessa would end up in that suit, since that is what happened to Afton’s daughter in the game. However, that last shot of her in the hospital bed seems like a good setup for references to the fourth game with the Nightmare Animatronics, as well as further exploration of dream theory. Finally, I know people did not love the theory that Gregory from Security Breach was an animatronic himself, but I think Abby may be in a similar position. Not to reference the books that I haven’t read, but it seems possible. 

To close, though I do feel like the movie let me down in the moment, it is fun to look back on it in a non-serious and fun context. I do wish they executed the horror-thriller aspect better, but I am excited to see which direction the movies take this well-loved series.

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