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Thursday, Feb. 22
The Indiana Daily Student

arts

COLUMN: ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ is not a hit if you’re not a fan

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Five Nights at Freddy’s” has become one of the most popular video games among adolescents. I remember when the games came out while I was in middle school around 2016, and it was all anyone in my class talked about. 

When I heard about the release of a “Five Night’s at Freddy’s” film adaptation, I was very intrigued. Despite having never played the game, evading the everyday references in the media has been impossible. I knew very little about the lore or backstory before going into the film, but was enthusiastic nonetheless.  

That excitement waned as the film began. There are several aspects of the film that work, but those aspects are greatly outweighed by those that do not.  

The film follows a security guard named Mike, played by Josh Hutcherson, as he attempts to provide for his younger sister and keep full custody of her while working through the trauma of losing his brother. Desperate for a job, he reluctantly agrees to take the night shift guarding Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, an old children’s arcade.  

The concept of this film is exciting and fascinating, but the filmmakers relied too heavily on the plot from the actual game rather than expanding on it to create a nuanced story. It feels as though the filmmakers chose a safe plot instead of taking risks. Much of the plot is either left unexplained or disconnected from the main plotline of the story.  

In the subplot where Mike is in his own dreams, for example, there are no rules established for when he is dreaming. Because of this, it comes off more as confusing and does not actually help  develop the plot further. 

For a majority of the film, the writing was poor and clunky. Many relationships, such as the relationship between Mike and his sister’s babysitter, Max, played by Kat Conner Sterling, were undefined and left me feeling confused. It was difficult for me to care about certain characters due to the fact I did not understand the relationships they had with one another or their purpose in the larger plot overall.  

Another problem I had with the film was the editing. Some sequences felt extremely long while other times it sped by what seemed like important plot points, such as Mike’s relationship with sleep and dreaming. A more consistent editing style would’ve made the film feel more cohesive and put together. 

On a more positive note, however, the lighting of the film was excellent. For a movie that takes place primarily at night and in the dark, I could see all of it. Another fantastic use of lighting was the use of neon signs in the actual pizza place to light the scene. This cool touch gave the shots a familiar, warm glow.  

Actors Hutcherson and Matthew Lillard, who played William Afton, gave excellent performances. Lillard was especially fun to watch in his dual role as the person who hired Mike for the security job and the principal antagonist.  

Despite the film’s effective lighting and standout performances, I was not impressed by “Five Nights at Freddy’s” and often found myself confused and bored. It’s a fun but poorly executed concept — especially for non-fans of the video game who are unfamiliar with the lore. I’d still recommend going to see it, with low expectations in mind.  

Don’t forget to bring a friend! It can get scary. 

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