The Student Newspaper of Oxford Academy

The Gamut

The Gamut

The Gamut

Freddy’s movie: Nightmare for critics, fresh for fans

Chris Phan

Following a nearly two year content hiatus, the infamous Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise is back in the spotlight in the premiere of its first movie on Oct. 27. With series creator Scott Cawthon on board with Blumhouse Studios, anticipated YouTuber cameos, and an exciting plot, it successfully drummed up hype for its opening weekend. Despite this highly anticipated release, audiences walked away unsatisfied with the film’s ridiculous writing. With part two already confirmed, it is clear the FNAF movie adaptations are just the latest Blumhouse cash grab.

The plot follows a security guard, Mike (Josh Hutcherson), who works night shifts at the dilapidated Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza while his younger sister, Abby (Piper Rubio), is forced to tag along. But, they discover the animatronics within the restaurant are haunted with souls of missing children, soon realizing the mascots have evil schemes.

Historically, FNAF has been known for its expansive, clue-based lore. The movie diverges from this concept and instead sets its plot through forced story beats that only loosely connect it to the franchise’s events. More specifically, Vanessa (Elizabeth Lail), a police officer, shares the name of a major character from FNAF’s most recent game, but shares little to no connection to her video game counterpart. She is also an important character to the movie which only puts more attention on the disconnect between the writing and the series itself.

Despite the grave plot, the movie’s tone is completely jumbled. Some of its best moments are those written with a horror-based direction in mind, but most scenes feel out of place for the genre, most egregiously shown when the protagonists and animatronics dance and build a furniture fort in the pizzeria’s dining room. This is one of the many scenes that misinterpret the spirit of the series, ruining the plot’s stakes and weakening its already dull third act, where the majority of action takes place. 

However, not everything in the film is a nightmare. The production quality, backed by renowned practical effects company Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, is immaculate and many shots play out just as they would in the games. The color grading in Mike’s dreams and the pizzeria is artfully done, taking the film much further than its writing. Set designers painstakingly included as many series-relevant details in their sets as possible and showed genuine interest in the series throughout production. In terms of acting, Hutcherson and Lail manage to steal the show, bringing their characters to life even with the little direction their scripts provide.

In spite of its debut 26% Rotten Tomatoes rating, the movie grossed $130 million during opening weekend. Fans, excited by new content in the near-decade long series, still loved the movie and are anxiously awaiting the sequel. Though its writing and composition fall flat, the adaptation for such a beloved series is sure to be a fun night out with friends to create memories that will always come back.

About the Contributors
Tyler Nguyen, Staff Writer
Active zucchini bread hater and morning showerer, Tyler Nguyen is a sophomore writer on staff, excited to write and tackle journalism competitions. Despite his self-diagnosed declaration of being “obnoxiously loud,” Tyler is an understanding, open-minded, and overall chill guy with a lottery-winning smile. Coincidentally, he compares himself to a lottery wheel, and whether it’s because he’s adventurous or indecisive, we’ll never know. With future aspirations of going into physical therapy, he currently plays tennis and commits to the gym. On campus, you might see him with a camera taking photos for the Gamut and pursuing his passion for photography. Outside of campus, you’ll find him volunteering with his signature Tyler Smile™. Whether you’re looking for an easygoing guy to strike up a conversation with or a dude with a dog named Bella, Tyler’s got your back.
Chris Phan, Staff Artist
As a sophomore and first-year illustrator, Chris Phan joined the Gamut for the opportunity to improve and publish his digital artworks, meet new people of all grade levels, and have fun with his friends. This summer, Chris spent lots of his time developing his artistic talents, which first originated from watching anime and feeling inspired to create art in the fifth grade. Despite his creative endeavors as a publicist in OA HOSA and children’s book illustrator in the OCAPICA ROOTED program, Chris enjoys STEM subjects, such as biotechnology, and sees himself going down the medical path. School aside, some of his other interests and hobbies include jamming out to indie rock, watching the T.V. show “House”, and munching on spicy chips (which his stomach can’t handle). His dream vacation is to visit the East Coast – especially to venture around the dirty subways of New York!