Movie Review: Five Nights at Freddy's (2023)

Synopsis: Still traumatized from seeing his brother's abduction as a pre-teen, Mike Schmidt loses his job as a mall security guard after assaulting a man he mistook for a kidnapper. At risk of losing custody of his younger sister, Mike accepts a job guarding the long-abandoned Freddy's Fazbear's Pizza, a once popular pizza restaurant and family entertainment venue that shut down after several kids disappeared. Mike doesn't know the animatronic animals that once entertained the kids are now both haunted and have a connection to his past.

Who's in it? The movie stars Josh Hutcherson, Matthew Lillard, Elizabeth Lail, Piper Rubio and Mary Stuart Masterson.

Review: Both of our kids are fans of the video game franchise that inspired this movie, and because of that, my wife and I had planned on taking the kids to the theater to see it on opening weekend. Scheduling conflicts prevented that from happening, but we were able to watch it at home on Peacock last night.

Overall, I thought it was an OK movie. However, I was also glad I didn't spend money on movie tickets.

One of the things I appreciated about this movie is, while it was obviously geared towards fans of the video game, it didn't make the same mistake so many other movies make and realized some viewers may not already be familiar with the characters. There were some details that were left out, at least according to my daughter, that might have made some parts of the story a little more impactful, but at least I wasn't completely lost when watching it.

As far as the plot itself is concerned, I didn't hate the concept. It reminded me a bit of Night at the Museum, only with more of a horror movie twist but the idea of animatronic creatures (which are creepy enough in my opinion) with a killer side was intriguing.

I did, however, feel like the movie lacked something in terms of overall execution. It takes a very long time before any action happens and even when it does, it still feels like the film is drawn out. The custody battle over Mike's (Hutchinson) sister, Abby (Rubio) for example, seems like it got a lot more screen time than actually needed, even if it did have some impact on the plot.

The movie was also kind of predictable in my opinion. Even without knowing anything about the video games, it wasn't difficult to figure out who the bad guy was, or how Officer Shelly (Lail) was related to that bad guy. As a result, of these things, I didn't think it was anything particularly memorable or hadn't really been done before.

Final Opinion: As my daughter warned me, it is a film geared toward fans. It's more watchable than expected but I think the level of enjoyment is going to vary depending on your relationship with the franchise.

My Grade: C


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