Spoilers ahead for the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie.
2023 has brought plenty of quality horror movies, a number of which arrived just in time for Halloween. Emma Tammi’s Five Nights at Freddy’s is in that category, arriving in both theaters and streaming with a Peacock subscription. And while the Five Nights movie was a fun Halloween watch, I’ve got a complaint about the iconic animatronics. Hear me out.
While video game movies have historically fared poorly, a number of recent installments have actually managed to do well critically and/or financially. Five Nights at Freddy’s made a ton of money during its opening weekend, proving that horror continues to be a financially viable genre. While it isn’t one of the best horror movies, audience scores for the new horror flick are positive. But I had a problem with the way the movie humanized Freddy and the other animatronics. Namely because they stopped being scary, and started being characters we could pity.
During the Five Nights at Freddy’s games, the mere sight of Freddy, Foxy, Chica, and the others was enough to make you jump. We’ve all been scared as they moved locations, or (even worse) killed players after finding them in the security office. While that premise was originally in the movie adaptation, they were promptly humanized and no longer served as haunting killers in the dark.
As we find out fairly early into the runtime of Five Nights, the animatronic cast of characters were actually haunted by the souls of murdered children. This almost instantly makes them less scary, as they become figures we can have empathy for. To be clear, this follows along with the lore of the games. But the games also still consistently make the animatronics terrifying. While there are still kills to come throughout the horror flick, I wouldn’t classify them as scary. We simply know too much about the killers, and hate their victims.
While the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie didn’t fare well critically, it still managed to have a strong opening in theaters. This is an even more impressive feat given the fact that moviegoers had the option to stream the movie on Peacock at the same time. We’ll just have to see how the next few weekends go down at the box office, especially as we get further away from the Halloween season.
The ending of Five Nights at Freddy’s definitely left things open for future chapters. The video game franchise is one with many installments, so it might be surprising if there were only one movie. The director of Five Nights has expressed her interest in a sequel, but it’s currently unclear if that’ll actually happen. If it does, I’m hoping that the animatronics are made more terrifying, as they were throughout the games. Fingers crossed.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is in theaters now and streaming on Peacock. Be sure to check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience.