Five Nights at Freddy’s – REVIEW

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Five Nights at Freddy's - the cult game makes it to the big screen
FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY'S, from Universal Pictures and Blumhouse in association with Striker Entertainment.

Latest in the extremely long line of video games to feature film adaptations is Five Nights at Freddy’s. Designed by Scott Cawthorn you play the game as a security officer of a run down relic of the 1980’s Freddy Fazbears Pizza Place , a family restaurant complete with ball pits, video games and a musical band of decrepit animatronic animals with all the musical moves  of an arthritic Westlife who couldn’t hit a note with a hammer. What the robot animals did hit, and with murderous intent, was you as the security guard whose job was to keep an eye on the CCTV monitors. The game was wildly successful and its back story expanded as each new edition of the game was bought out. It’s premise was ideal for a horror movie and Blumhouse have grabbed that opportunity and Cawthorn was on board as one of the screenwriters.

Here the premise essentially stays the same with Mike (Josh Hutcherson) the security guard who has an enduring trauma from his childhood when his little brother was abducted never to be seen again and he struggles with it still to this day getting fired from job after job. With his father no longer around and mother having passed away its left to him to bring up his little sister, reclusive in school she channels her energies into her drawings. Sacked again it’s Mike’s career counsellor played by Matthew Lillard who gets him the job at the at the pizza parlour. Informed that ‘it was huge in the 1980s with kids……but its dark and creepy inside before it had to be shut down’ it sounds more like Rolf Harris and perhaps would have added an edge to the horror if he was in the film. Mike takes the job in an effort to prevent him losing custody of his sister to an avaricious Aunt (Mary Stuart Masterson). So off he goes to start his Five Nights at Freddy’s where the horror begins. Except this is not an 18 certificate it’s a 15 certificate and it’s a struggle to see why as the carnage is bland and bloodless with director and co-writer Emma Tammi having said that she regards the film as something of a gateway to horror. For the many fans of the game this will disappoint and for those not familiar with it there will be a question as to what the fuss was all about.

For the uninitiated audiences there will be questions constantly running through the back of the mind – If this is a shut down business who’s paying for the electric that keeps neon signs and CCTV cameras working? Why is there such a seemingly huge age gap between Mike and his little sister? And perhaps most pertinent ….why is this running for 110 minutes?

On the plus side the grimy production design is spot on and the mechanical monsters are on point care of Jim Henson’s workshop but the video game gave hints of backstory and fans were prolific in their interpretation of what went on but here the family drama told in regular flashbacks becomes an irritant and there’s a group of characters introduced solely for the purpose of being despatched in the best though bloodless ‘kill’ sequence.

Five Night at Freddy’s has been in development for years with Cawthorn rumoured to have scrapped one iteration of the script and in that time the bonkers ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ was released with an identical premise with a suitably unhinged Nicolas Cage and is a more satisfying watch.

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instagram : our night at the film’s special screening

Here’s the Five Nights at Freddy’s trailer……

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