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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Five Nights at Freddy’s - Animatronic Antics: A Tale of Two Ratings

Rating as a standalone movie: ★★★☆☆

Rating for fans of the Game/Lore: ★★★★☆

Released 10-27-2023

Watched 10-29-2023

Reviewed 10-30-2023

Watched on Peacock

"I always come back."

Released both in theaters and streaming the same day, “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” the film adaptation of the eponymous video game, offers a gripping and nostalgic ride for fans and an entertaining, if not entirely original, experience for newcomers. The movie deftly weaves in the rich lore of the games, with nods and winks that will have enthusiasts of the series whispering excitedly in their seats. My daughter and her friends, well-versed in the game's mythology, were on the edge of their seats, reveling in the faithful recreation of Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria and its animatronic inhabitants.

For the uninitiated, the plot revolves around a troubled security guard who takes on the night shift at the infamous pizzeria. The film doesn't waste time throwing him—and the audience—into a labyrinth of suspense and scares. As the nights progress, the boundaries between quirky animatronic antics and sinister underpinnings blur, leading to a crescendo of terror that pays homage to the game’s ability to deliver scares.

The cinematography captures the claustrophobia of the game's setting, while the sound design is a standout, expertly building tension with eerie echoes of children’s laughter and the mechanical whirs of the animatronics. For fans like my daughter, the attention to detail in the set design and the Easter eggs scattered throughout the film are a delightful treat, enhancing the viewing experience to a solid four stars.

My wife and I, unfamiliar with the lore, found the plot somewhat predictable, a collage of horror tropes we've seen before. Yet, we couldn’t deny the film's effectiveness in delivering chills and thrills. The pacing is taut, ensuring that even though the storyline may feel derivative to some, there’s scarcely a dull moment.

Performance-wise, the cast does a commendable job, particularly the lead actor, who convincingly portrays the growing dread of a man who is possessed by the past and not sleeping enough in the present. The animatronics are terrifyingly lifelike, a testament to the special effects team's skill.

In summary, “Five Nights at Freddy’s” is a film with a dual rating. For the fans, it’s a four-star homage to a beloved franchise filled with the lore and terror that made the games and books a hit. For the rest, it’s a competent horror film that manages to entertain and scare, even if it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, earning a more modest three stars. It's an enjoyable watch for a family like ours, bridging the gap between generations with its universal language of adrenaline and nostalgia.


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