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Is the new “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie as alluring as the video game?

Five Nights at Freddys characters GIF.
Evie Wada
“Five Night’s at Freddy’s” characters GIF.

When the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie was announced, fans were worried it wouldn’t live up to the game that it was inspired by. The gameplay of the original game is pretty simple and people weren’t sure how well it would translate into a film format. 

“Five Nights at Freddy’s,” a game that originally came out in 2014, is a horror video game where players take on the role of a man named Mike Schmidt, a security guard at “Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria.” Mike works the night shift from 12 a.m. to six a.m. for five nights, monitoring the animatronics that represent the franchise and perform on stage during the day while also making sure no one breaks in. What players learn is that the animatronics lurk around and make their way toward the office, moving quicker as more nights pass. It’s the players job to keep them out by shutting two doors on either side of the room, but checking the monitors and closing the doors drains the pizzeria’s power. When the power runs out completely before 6 a.m., it’s an inevitable death.

In our opinion, watching someone sit in an office looking at television screens for two hours isn’t entertaining. That’s why, for the movie, a new storyline was created. Similar to the games, the protagonist of the movie is a man named Mike Schmidt, played by Josh Hutcherson. Now taking place in the early 2000s, unlike the first game which takes place in the early 90s, Mike has to get a job to prove that he is fit as a guardian for his little sister, Abby Schmidt to keep her in his custody.

The biggest distinction between the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie and the video games is that in the movie, Mike is surveilling the pizzeria 20 years after it’s been abandoned, while in the games, he is working there while it is still in business. In the game series, there are time jumps between each release of a new game. It tells a story of a family from the point of view of the oldest son, Mike Schmidt, that fell apart due to the making of the pizzeria by his father, William Afton.

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Characters from “Five Nights at Freddy’s” comic. (Brianna DeWert)

Mike Schmidt from the movie isn’t part of the Afton family; his job at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria is coincidental. After losing his old job as a security guard due to “accidentally” assaulting a man when he thought he was kidnapping his son, Mike desperately needed a new job on his record to continue taking care of Abby. He goes to a career counselor, and after some hesitation, he takes the security shift at the pizzeria.

The four main animatronics are the same as the first game. Freddy Fazbear, the face of the company, Bonnie the rabbit, Chica the chicken with her sidekick The Cupcake, and Foxy the fox. The biggest change from the movie and the game is how Mike has his first interactions with these characters. In the game you can only see the animatronics behind the stage through the cameras. In the movie, Mike has a jump scare when he peaks through the curtain. Another character, Balloon boy, disables the flashlight and air vent lights, and makes noises to try to scare the player in the game. In the movie you can see Balloon Boy as an action figure lying around various unexpected places and scaring Mike a few times, which isn’t significant to him as a character, but it’s a nice callback.

In the game lore, these animatronics are being controlled by the ghosts of children who were murdered inside of the pizzeria. Their main goal is to get revenge on Mike, the security guard you play as, by killing him, even though he wasn’t the one who committed the murder in the first place. 

This plot changes heavily in the movie. In the movie, the animatronics aren’t inherently evil; they are, to some extent, being controlled by somebody else to harm the security guards and other people who have the misfortune of coming face-to-face with them. 

Many people didn’t like the plot that Blumhouse, the studio that created the movie and many other horror movies in the past, and helpers had chosen. A lot of people expressed that it was too different from the games to enjoy it.

When Mike has to bring his little sister to the pizzeria one night, the animatronics are kind, friendly and play with her, because the ghosts that control them are the same age. This is what caused much of the criticism. People expressed that the scenes where the animatronics act like the children they technically are and play with Abby were unnecessary and untrue to the games. 

While the second part is true, We don’t think it was unnecessary. We think that is a nice change in perspective, showing that the animatronics in this universe just want to protect themself and make friends. We understand that seeing them so gentle and playful takes away from the ‘horror’ feel, and a little part of me does wish that the movie was scarier than it ended up being, but you have to remember that the script was approved by Scott Cawthon himself, the creator of ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s”, and this was only the first movie out of the multiple they plan to make.

We think it’s interesting that they chose the characters they did. Vanessa, a police officer who befriends Mike that’s played by Elizabeth Lail in the movie, was one of the main characters yet she wasn’t introduced in the game series until the 9th one. We like this, though, because it gives us more insight into her character and how it may or may not parallel her character in the later games that plan to be released, and the few games that she’s already in. There aren’t a lot of protagonists in the games that come back again and again, so it’s nice to see a new character introduced that is already building off of her original potential.

The games don’t connect with the main characters on a very personal level, not until the very end of the 4th one. While playing, you’re in first person and are the only one working, it feels more like a simulator than a story game. The movie is able to dive deep into the characters’ thoughts, feelings and reactions to everything as if it were in real life which you can’t accomplish in the games style. Despite the criticism, we think they did a great job at portraying this, at least enough to keep it entertaining. You’re able to actually get a glimpse of a few of the characters’ lives outside of the job and determine a personality which makes it feel much more alive.

Overall, no, the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie does not represent the games. However, We think that’s a good thing. It gives the fans more content to work with and a new story to enjoy, added onto all 13 games that follow, for the most part, the same story, and 11 books, which follow a different story than the original games.

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About the Contributors
Alyssa Nava, Staff Writer
Alyssa Nava is a Sophomore. This is her first year on staff for the Stargazer.
Alexa Tarte, Media Team
Evie Wada, Media Team
Evie Wada is a staff artist for the Stargazer. She is a Freshman and this is her first year on staff.
Brianna DeWert, Staff Writer/ Media Team
Brianna is a staff writer and member of the media team for the Stargazer. She is a Freshman and this is her first year on staff. Brianna engages in student journalism because she loves to draw and write, and she enjoys the ability to share her work while informing people about topics connected to the school.

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