Review: The Five Nights at Freddy’s movie adaptation succumbs to the pitfalls of a poorly executed narrative, sidelining its potentially terrifying animatronic characters in favor of a tepid and uninspiring trauma story. Josh Hutcherson gives a commendable performance, but there’s not enough support around him to make this movie work.
As the film adaptation of the popular video game franchise Five Nights at Freddy’s hit theaters, it carried with it the weight of anticipation from both fans of the game and horror enthusiasts alike. Starring Josh Hutcherson, the film supposedly promised a big-budget, thrilling experience, but unfortunately, what unfolded on the screen failed to live up to the expectations generated by its intriguing premise and hype.
Approaching the movie with only a basic understanding of the video game, my excitement stemmed from the prospect of a major horror event, something that could ignite passionate discussions and perhaps introduce a new, younger generation to the genre. However, the reality of Five Nights at Freddy’s turned out to be a rather lackluster and uninspiring affair.
Josh Hutcherson, best known for his amiable portrayal of Peeta in The Hunger Games franchise, steps into a different arena as he takes on the role of Mike in this horror adaptation. Hutcherson infuses the character with the expected pathos, providing a solid performance in a film that struggles to capitalize on the potential inherent in its premise. Despite Hutcherson’s efforts, he becomes the lone shining light in an otherwise dimly lit movie.
One of the major disappointments of the film lies in its treatment of the animatronic animals, the very essence of the horror in the Five Nights at Freddy’s video game. Rather than taking center stage, these iconic characters are relegated to the sidelines, overshadowed by a lackluster trauma story involving Mike and his younger brother. The attempt to inject emotional depth into the narrative falls flat, and the movie loses its horror edge in favor of a narrative thread that feels out of place and uninspired.
Reviews for Movies like Five Nights at Freddy’s (2023)
In a landscape where horror enthusiasts found themselves discussing Nicolas Cage’s Willy’s Wonderland in 2021, Five Nights at Freddy’s struggles to rise above its predecessor. The kills, while more implied and less graphic, seem to cater to a broader audience and avoid an R rating. This decision, while understandable from a commercial perspective, dilutes the horror experience, leaving audiences with a watered-down version of the scares they might have anticipated.
The film’s shortcomings are exacerbated by its inability to carve out a unique identity within the horror genre. Instead of standing out as a memorable addition to the rotation of horror movies in 2023, Five Nights at Freddy’s feels like a generic gateway into the genre for young teenagers. Its spineless and rudimentary approach may serve as a mild introduction to horror, but it lacks the staying power and substance needed to leave a lasting impact in popular culture.
A notable comparison arises with Willy’s Wonderland, a film that, despite its flaws, embraced its B-movie roots and delivered a certain charm. Five Nights at Freddy’s, on the other hand, fails to distinguish itself from the crowded field of horror offerings. It neither achieves the cult status of a genre-defining film nor does it offer a compelling narrative that transcends its video game origins.
Despite Josh Hutcherson’s commendable performance, Five Nights at Freddy’s succumbs to the pitfalls of a poorly executed narrative, sidelining its potentially terrifying animatronic characters in favor of a tepid and uninspiring trauma story. The decision to dilute the horror elements for a wider audience results in a forgettable horror effort that lacks the substance and depth needed to make a lasting impact in the genre of horror, and the film industry as a whole.
Stream Five Nights at Freddy’s on Peacock
Film Cast and Credits
Josh Hutcherson as Mike
Pipper Rubio as Abby
Elizabeth Lail as Vanessa
Matthew Lillard as Steve Reglan
Mary Stuart Masterson as Aunt Jane
Director: Emma Tammi
Cinematography: Lyn Moncrief