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The Student News Site of Horizon High School

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The Student News Site of Horizon High School

The Profile


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Thoughts on Five Nights at Freddy’s From A Long-Time Fan

(image credit:
(image credit:

The long-anticipated Five Nights at Freddy’s movie, based on the hit horror game series of the same name, has finally been released in theaters. This movie has been around eight years in the making, with development beginning around April 2015 to adapt the franchise’s first game into a cinematic production. The promise of this movie has kept FNAF fans such as myself on the edge of their seats for years.

At the announcement of the star-studded cast- featuring notable actors such as The Hunger Games Josh Hutcherson and Scream’s Matthew Lillard- the online fandom lit up at the news that the movie was not only still coming but would also be here in a matter of mere months. The trailer’s release portrayed it as a horror movie, with night guard Mike Schmidt taking the night shift at Freddy’s, where the animatronics begin to move on their own and exhibit murderous and possessive (get it?) tendencies. 

But how did the movie actually live up to these expectations? I’d like to offer my thoughts on the movie as someone who’s been a fan since 2014 and has had periodical hyperfixations every few years. This review will be spoiler-free with only discussions of vague plot details and things mentioned in the trailer. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie adaptation!


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The plot sets us in Freddy’s as night guard Mike, who spends his time sleeping and contemplating his troubled past while job-hunting to support his sister Abby. After being recommended the job by a counselor, Mike arrives at Freddy’s, and at first finds it to be a boring, but somewhat eerie, job. Soon he finds his dreams are being invaded by visions of ominous children, and when Officer Vanessa enters the scene, he quickly learns he may have signed up for more than he bargained for. The animatronics are possessed by children who went missing in the pizzeria, and when Mike brings Abby to work with him, the spirits begin to move in Abby’s direction.

The plot of this movie does a phenomenal job of highlighting the story of the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise. The focus on the missing children was only background information in the original game. In the movie these children are prominent and major characters whose story and motivations are the driving forces of the plot, offering us a look at characters whose personality has been based wholly on speculation until this point. This gives fans everywhere a sense of completion.

The actual storyline is well-rounded and allows a blend of horror moments (consisting mainly of jumpscares) and funny moments, which has led some to question whether or not it can be a horror movie. While I was not very scared at any point in the movie, that can likely be attributed to the fact that I’m desensitized to the eerie story of the franchise at this point. In addition, the plot pushed a story rather than just a horror plot, and for that, it should be commended. 

The storyline was relatively easy to follow even if you are not a long-time fan- it’s seriously just haunted robots- and can tell it through a story that doesn’t only rely on horror elements but a mix of horror, comedy, serious story moments, and occasional fan service.



The strongest point of this movie was its characters. The main protagonist, Mike, is given so much depth for being a horror movie protagonist, having a backstory that is thoughtfully tied into the main conflict and clear character motivations. His obliviousness and sometimes stupidity in the face of what exactly is happening in the pizzeria offers comedic relief at some times as he reflects the casual movie viewer who just wants to get through their job and is confused about the people around them spouting out the “FNAF Lore” every few minutes.

Vanessa was an unexpected addition, but a welcome one who added another layer of eeriness to the setting. She seems to know everything about Freddy’s, and the way that she lets that information on to Mike with a calm tone despite Mike’s hectic internal state creates a mystery of who she is and why she knows so much. She’s written as a mystery character to solve and I found her story to be very compelling. She was a bit weird and her attitude didn’t quite match up with the plot at times, but overall I think she was a good character.

Abby was a nice foil to the children in her innocence and excitement. The animatronics are drawn to her because she, like them, is a child tied to tragedy and feels separated from her family. She’s the catalyst for the conflict, as the animatronics seek her out, but she isn’t intimidated by them, providing an understanding of the animatronics that Mike lacks that evenly balances out their views of the setting.

I won’t reveal too much about the antagonist, but I will say that he is exactly who long-time fans think he is, and when he is revealed, he is phenomenal. Matthew Lillard puts on a spectacular performance that captures the antagonist’s character very well, and it’s safe to say from the screams of excitement from my fellow theater patrons that his time on screen was enjoyable. I’d recommend staying specifically to watch Matthew Lillard perform, because boy, does he deliver.



The setting alternates between Mike’s house and Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, with only a few one-off scenes happening elsewhere. But what Blumhouse manages to do with these two setting pieces, especially the latter, makes the story feel developed and lived-in.

The Freddy’s pizzeria is mapped out almost identically to the games, and the setting manages to make it look just like an old children’s establishment. The stage with the three animatronics, the separate Pirate’s Cove stage with Foxy, and the night guard’s office all matched the game’s map layout perfectly, making the setting feel as though it was taken straight from the game. Freddy’s was brought to life in an amazing way that was very fulfilling to see as a long-time fan.

However, the setting itself doesn’t add as much to the horror plot as the characters do. Ultimately the bulk of the horror plot does not take place in the office as it does within the game, meaning the setting does not play a larger role. For the most part, the lights are on and portray it like a normal restaurant with dramatic lighting changes only occurring toward the climax, with the characters doing most of the work for creating the horror plot. But I found this to be okay, as the fact that the actual establishment of Freddy’s was brought to life on screen was fulfilling enough to make up for it.


Lore Accuracy

It was the expectation of the fans that the plot would stick to the story of the game franchise, despite how notoriously confusing that story is. Over the years the fanbase, with the help of famous YouTuber MatPat and his Game Theory series, has pieced together their own story of the Five Nights at Freddy’s timeline that every game has rigidly fit into. Although it was specified by the franchise’s creator Scott Cawthon that the movie would take place in a different universe, many fans such as myself went into the theater hoping that the movie would either be in line with our imagined timeline or solidify the points of the timeline that we did not know.

How true did the movie stay to the fandom’s “imagined” timeline? It strayed with one noticeable detail that I will not reveal to avoid spoilers. But for the most part, the story of William Afton as the antagonist and the children haunting the robots remains entirely unchanged, and the movie itself was littered with little references to other games and minigames that made fans feel great about when they were recognized. There were multiple moments in my theater where fans cheered and clapped at the references that were made or the plot points that were revealed. So while it wasn’t 100% spotlessly accurate to the fans’ collective understanding of the lore, it still pulled together a great story involving a lot of the existing story and made for a movie that nonetheless has so far made fans happy.

Overall, this movie felt like a love letter to the fans. Even the seeming mix-around with the story provided an opportunity for fans to re-examine the story and figure it out all over again. The references didn’t feel like pandering- only happy nods to those who have poured their hearts into the franchise, and the actual plot and characters did great justice to the characters we have set up in our heads from the games. While those who did not follow the games will probably not get the same amount of fun and excitement out of it as we long-time fans have, they can still expect an entertaining watch and an interesting mystery to solve. The horror aspects of the plot left a bit to be desired due to the amount that it focused on the story rather than the horror, but the story that they did provide was phenomenal. I thoroughly enjoyed Five Nights at Freddy’s.

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About the Contributor
Grace Hilliard
Grace Hilliard, Assistant copy editor and Marketing and Social Media Director
This is Grace’s first year in journalism- and only year, as they graduate in May! Grace loves writing, art, and storytelling, and she hopes to get some a career in some kind of storytelling field (the dream would be a graphic novelist!). Beyond journalism, they do Battle of the Books and Theater, where they delight in being able to connect with others and discuss, tell, and act stories. In her free time she enjoys drawing, reading, listening to music, playing Minecraft, and watching animated shows.

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