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Movies & TV

25th Oct 2023

REVIEW: Five Nights At Freddy’s makes horror’s biggest mistake

Rory Cashin

Five Nights at Freddy's

Based on the hugely popular video games series, Five Nights at Freddy’s is in cinemas right now.

Perhaps quoting Alfred Hitchcock at the beginning of a review for Five Nights At Freddy’s isn’t fair to the video game adaptation, but the quote – which, upon looking it up, might not actually be attributed to Hitchcock at all – tells us that “An audience would rather be confused than bored.”

Within the seemingly endless 110-minute runtime of Five Nights At Freddy’s, you will be confused, but you will ALSO be bored. There is another Hitchcock quote that comes to mind: “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” If you’re not aware of the video game series that this movie is based on, then we can tell you this, it is pretty much all bang. It is basically Jump Scare: The Game, which doesn’t translate well into Jump Scare: The Movie.

Mike, a down-on-his-luck young man (Josh Hutcherson) with a tragic past is the sole provider for her younger sister Abby (Piper Rubio), and is forced to take the night shift as the security guard for a rundown and abandoned pizzeria. Inside is filled with giant animatronic creatures that, in their 80’s heyday, proved to be very popular with the local kids… the place is basically Chuck-E-Cheese in everything but the name.

However, it turns out that Mike and Abby and the restaurant and the animatronics and a local police officer (Elizabeth Lail) all have connections to each other and… ugh… it barely warrants explaining…

Five Nights at Freddy’s is one of the worst movies of 2023

Somehow, in the same year that Jason Blum produced M3GAN, a fantastically entertaining, darkly comic thriller about a sentient killer robot, he has also produced one of the most boring horrors of recent years, which also happens to be about some sentient killer robots.

Directed and co-written by Emma Tammi, the entire endeavour sprawls out endlessly from that relentlessly dull first night. The script has next-to-zero humour in it, so any hopes for some spiteful laughs are entirely misplaced. There is hardly any gore and not one inventive kill to be found, so that is another box left unticked.

For the actual horror itself, it comes entirely from cheap jump scares… not even decently paced ones like you might have got from the source games, just the most basic LOUD NOISES to announce the sudden arrival of something on screen. It is lazy, and it isn’t scary at all.

It also doesn’t help that for most of the film’s running time, we’re left with a series of unanswered questions. How old is Mike supposed to be, with a younger sister that young? What year is all of this happening in, because there are old-school landlines, but then suddenly someone has an old cellphone? How do the haunted robots also control… all of the electricity? When you’re left asking useless questions like that, then you know the movie is doing a terrible job of keeping you interested.

One of the year’s worst movies, Five Nights at Freddy’s is in cinemas from today, Wednesday 25 October.

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