Five Nights at Freddy's: Movie Review

Five Nights at Freddy's Movie Review: Serviceable But Safe

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As far as video game movies go, our expectations for "Five Nights at Freddy's" weren't particularly high. Surprisingly, the final product exceeded our expectations with a serviceable narrative that had some unexpected depth. However, the film's choice to aim for a PG rating significantly limited its capacity to deliver the chills and thrills it could have offered. While it was decent, it fell short of what it could have achieved had it not settled for less.

The story revolves around Mike (Josh Hutcherson), a troubled security guard who is taking care of his 10-year-old sister, Abby (Piper Rubio). After being recently fired and desperately looking for work, Mike accepts a night security position at an abandoned theme restaurant called Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. Soon, he realizes that nothing at Freddy’s is what it seems. With the assistance of Vanessa (Elizabeth Lail), a local police officer, Mike's nights at Freddy’s lead him into inexplicable encounters with the supernatural and might help him find solace in a secret that has haunted him since his teenage years.

We entered "Five Nights at Freddy's" without being avid fans of the video game franchise, having only a basic understanding of its mechanics and limited knowledge of its deeper lore. Without any prior context, we found the story to be decent. The narrative heavily relies on Josh Hutcherson's character, Mike, as it provided a more complex background than we had expected. Did this backstory work? To some extent, as it made us actually care about Mike and his sister. However, this back story felt somewhat forced and didn't entirely align wekk with the dark history of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria. Regrettably, characters other than Mike, such as the haunted mascots and Vanessa, played by Elizabeth Lail, lacked sufficient character development in our opinion. 

In terms of scares, the film fell short of delivering any real scares and refrained from incorporating any substantial gore just to maintain its PG rating. Kills will be missing as the camera cuts off just before something gruesome happens and for those expecting thrilling kills, this movie will likely disappoint. At least it didn't resort to the "Battleship" approach of forcefully integrating board game elements into the film, opting to create its own cinematic experience outside its video game mechanics. However, it erred too much on the side of caution which doesn't suit well to the supernatural and horror genre. This was simply too safe to truly achieve its full potential. 

Rating: 3 reels

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