“Five Nights at Freddy’s” started as an indie horror game by creator Scott Cawthon according to Fandom Wiki. According to Cultured Ventures, after the first game released in 2014, Scott created an additional eight games. He then followed the franchise with additional spin off games and content being excluded from that number, according to Cultured Ventures. With a fandom varying in ages, experience and dedication, the “FNAF” movie was much anticipated, making it understandable that it topped box office records for the number-one-grossing video game movie opening day, according to ComicBook.com.
I want to preface that there will be spoilers within this review, so please refrain from reading further if you do not want the content of the movie to be spoiled!
I absolutely adored the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie. I saw it opening night on Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m. because I wanted to ensure I could avoid as many spoilers from my TikTok “For You” page as possible. While I know some fans of the franchise hated it due to it not being “lore accurate,” I found it a pleasure to watch and enjoy. I have been a fan of the games since I was young, and I have followed the games for close to a decade now. I found the games through Youtuber Markiplier, as many others did, and I have found so much enjoyment and happiness within the franchise and community.
Beyond the movie, the atmosphere within the theater was pure enjoyment. There was a wide variety of ages present within the theater, and the air was filled with excitement and anticipation. Every reference, important scene, or surprise cameo warranted varying responses from the whole theater such as cheers, murmurs or gasps. The theater was never truly silent, but I did not mind. I felt like part of a community all while I was surrounded by strangers, people I may have seen hundreds of times to someone I will never see again. The love these people held for this movie paralleled mine, and it felt like home.
If you know the theories and lore, the movie may have meant something deeper than face-value for you as it did me. The references to the concept of “dream theory,” an ode to Youtuber MatPat’s theory to explain FNAF 4 throughout the movie was nostalgic and hilarious. I feel like it was Scott poking fun at things the community has got wrong before. While there were a lot of new characters created specifically for the movie, names such as Mike Schmidt, Vanessa and William Afton hold weight that is undeniable. Their characters being featured felt like a dream-come-true.
I hate to admit it, but I even cried during the movie. Not from sadness but from the pure ecstasy that I experienced while watching the film. It was like seeing a concert of an artist who changed your life (or it at least paralleled something like that to me). Seeing MatPat act as the character Ness, a waiter in Sparky’s diner (another reference to an old wive’s tale within the first game), brought me to tears. The realization that someone who I have followed closely for years and relied on to understand the FNAF lore was recognized and given a space within the movie was so wholesome and endearing to me. Especially since MatPat acted like he was not in the film when reacting to the movie trailer on his channel Game Theory, no one expected him to be featured, let alone say his slogan “but that’s just a theory.”
The second and last time I cried while watching the movie was during the springlock failure scene. Something about seeing one of the most influential and important deaths within the franchise be actualized within a film was overwhelming and beautiful. Furthermore, the emotion and lead up to the scene was wonderfully delivered. The lighting, suspense and a slight “Scream” reference leading up to Matthew Lillard’s “death” scene was absolutely perfect. While that scene was impactful as is, the water works finally started from sadness when Freddy let out a scream, as if the relief and sadness was finally let out of their animatronic bodies.
The FNAF lore is not for the light-hearted. Serial killers, broken families and children’s souls overwhelm the storyline. It is a truly devastating tale even though we are not totally sure of the specifics just yet. The fact that the movie highlighted the very real fact that these animatronics have always been possessed by the souls of children felt so raw. Even though it gave me more questions than answers when it came to lore, as it is not within the same canon as the games and books, it meant everything.