Released on the cinema on 27th October 2023, Five Nights at Freddy’s the movie has been eyed by many Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNaF) fans with anticipation of horror and the mysterious lore the series has always portrayed. But to many others, especially in Malaysia, FNaF is often overshadowed by other games that are far more popular, with far more interesting game mechanics, so it is understandable why there are mixed reviews on the movie (because they are not familiar with the game lore before watching the movie).
If you are planning to watch FNaF the movie, here’s what you should know.
The Plot is Easy to Follow but Requires Background Understanding to Immerse In
The story brings up the story of a person, Mike, dealing with personal loss and trauma, and giving custody to his sibling (considering he’s the only family member remaining)—all while making countless attempts to solve mysteries of his losses.
“How does this relate to the famous “surviving five nights at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza as a security guard” lore?”
Beats me. What does matter is that his loss does relate to the event leading to the original lore of Five Nights at Freddy’s—the five missing children at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza that led to the eventual closure of the establishment. If you’re not familiar with the missing children in Five Nights at Freddy’s, here’s what you should know:
The bite of ’87 was the leading cause of the closure. They don’t tell you this in the movie.
The incident was closely similar to the bite of ’83, which was told in FNaF 4. Both incidents are practically the same; malfunctioning animatronic, and skull injuries in both of the victims (that eventually led to casualties). The establishment had been receiving multiple lawsuits, and no one eventually wanted to be associated with the name “Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza” because of the stained reputation. With no one wanting to be affiliated for business purposes, and the cases of the missing children, the establishment eventually led to a complete closure.
As Vanessa (the character eventually introduced in the movie) said to the main character, Mike, “You really didn’t do your homework”, commenting on Mike’s oblivion to the history of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza.
Some of the Characters May Be Affiliated to The Game
Apart from William Afton, an infamous character in FNaF series, there are possibilities of the other characters relating to the games as well. Vanessa, for example, can sound familiar to the players who have played, or seen gameplays of, Five Nights at Freddy’s: Security Breach. This is allegedly a different Vanessa from the movie, portrayed as a security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Mega Pizzaplex. But they both have very similar appearances: shoulder-length blonde hair, ponytail, and green eyes, and both are related to the incident of missing children in the respective establishment.
Mike, eventually uncovering the truth about the animatronics, is also the same Mike (with the same surname) in FNaF 1, which can be found in the Survival Logbook. He was also the main protagonist in the game, and eventually fired from the job if the players finish the custom night (night 7).
One theory is that after finishing the five nights, he grew obsessed with the animatronics, leading him to tamper with them. Considering his overall personality shown in the movie, all the reasons stated in the notice of termination portray his exact character as a whole (which can’t be detailed here for spoiler reasons).
And then we have the Phone Guy, who only appears in the first four nights of the game, and only in the opening sequence of the movie.
There are theories that this is the same Phone Guy as the one in the game.
I would say spoiler alert below, but the Phone Guy’s appearance in the movie has little to no substance.
The Phone Guy dies, both in the game and in the opening sequence of the movie. Both failed to survive the night, and both are ‘stuffed’ in an animatronic suit (though the one in the game was completely up to players’ speculations as he requested for the players to check one of the suits after their shift). The only difference is that they are caught by different animatronics.
Regardless, there are characters in the movie that are not ‘properly’ introduced. If you know the characters in the game, you will recognise the names in the movie.
Expect Less Gore and Less Horror
This movie is not rated R, so there won’t be any horrifying scenes or anything that can be scarring to children (even though the games themselves have already done enough psychological damage to them, funnily enough).
Some of the scenes in the movie could’ve had some gruesome effects on the audience, especially those who are not used to witnessing gore like the ones in S.A.W. (and the Final Destination series). But, because they are catering to the general public, they have to make it so that the scenes in the movie are either censored or cut off in pure suspense. Of course, it’s a bummer for those who want to see the jumpscares and horror sightings in the movie to the fullest extent, but as we all know—it is what it is.
Even the climatic scene in the movie, too. There are some plot changes in the movie, and one of the most famous scenes in the game was changed to make it suitable for children and adults alike to watch in the movie.
majorly slightly devastating to see one of the most critical plot points in the FNaF lore not only being changed but also toned down to fit the major audience. But they’re still there, and I suppose that’s good. If you’re familiar with some of the plot points that have scarred so many players that choose to delve into the plot of FNaF, then you will find it in the movie as well.
Oh yes, expect fewer jump scares and horror elements. The movie relies heavily on the progressive plot points and easter eggs rather than horror elements that could have fit the setting well.
It’s not bad, but I hoped the movie would turn out better. So much wasted potential that could have otherwise put the audience at the edge of their seats, both in horror and fascination. But bear in mind that the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie takes place before the event of Five Nights at Freddy’s 1. So the movie doesn’t necessarily change the whole lore of FNaF; just some new plot points to bridge the gap between the plot in the game.
I am not one for ratings, so take it with a grain of salt: it’s roughly 6/10. Feel free to watch it if you don’t want to miss out on the lore of Five Nights at Freddy’s.