Blumhouse’s mathematical formula is simple: produce more with less to earn more to produce more. To put it simply, a bunch of small, low-budget horror movies fill theaters or streaming platforms, raking in a bunch of greenbacks that then make it possible to finance more substantial films. Does it work? Five Nights at Freddy’s it cost between 20 and 30 million dollars and had already brought 80 million since his first weekend of work on American soil. After all, why complicate things when it’s simply worth it?
Because we can say so, Emma Tammi’s feature film from the video game series of the same name is the goose that lays the golden eggs as automatically as the animatronics it depicts. Quickly taking elements from the games that inspired it, the film tries to justify its existence with a script that portrays Mike (Josh Hutcherson), a man haunted by a dark past who struggles to hold down a job and take care of himself, his younger sisters. . In desperation, he accepts a low-paying night job: night guard at an old, dilapidated and abandoned restaurant, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. What he doesn’t know is that the animatronic that still haunts this place is no harmless automaton.
The film, on the other hand, is truly harmless, a production on autopilot that conforms to the clichés of the horror genre. Is the music crackling? Light flickering? The shadow will inevitably appear in the night, and it is not the killer who is on the run. Surprise effects are kind enough to warn of their arrival five minutes before, so we are given the gift of omniscience that allows us to see the future and anticipate every effect. Either we are gods or the feature film is reciting the coward’s playbook.
So of course, Five Nights at Freddy’s develops a nightmarish atmosphere as original as a French comedy with Christian Clavier, but what if it can at least offer us some blood, gore or a slight desire to close our eyes for something other than sleep? To your good heart, ladies and gentlemen? Not? Not. The video remains frighteningly wise, even for all audiences if we omit a very quick overview of the criminal talent of our machines. Here we are in front of a shy, modest horror film that fulfills only one promise: not paying the electricity bill.
Children seem to be the subject and the main target of a film that constantly avoids embracing its nonetheless interesting concept, with some really good ideas for letting the horse go, such as using these animatronics with so much horror potential. our clown friends. A dilapidated place, vending machines in the same state and victims just waiting to meet the Terminator disguised as a giant teddy bear, at least we had a guilty pleasure from this Halloween period. Only if.
In short, not enough to fill the hollow tooth of a hungry hemoglobin fan, or even a franchise enthusiast. Because, and this is even more surprising when we know that “FNAF” creator Scott Cawthon had a hand in the script, aside from references here and there, nothing that made the game fun was really used in this adaptation.
The cameras are just a screenplay pretext where they could have been a real staging tool (at best touched upon in the film), and the narrative is burdened with too many secondary elements to try to build something around it. a stupid adaptation that forgets to be… an adaptation. Unless we consider Resident Evil the last chapter as a good adaptation of the license. Yes, it was a free shot, but I want to make an observation: we don’t know who this movie is for. Horror fans won’t get their money’s worth, and fans of the game will undoubtedly prefer a reboot. But given the success of the film, we certainly didn’t understand anything.
However, one thing we realized is that the script has no idea how to make the robot carnage interesting and will even go out of its way to avoid dwelling on it too much. Setting up Mike’s story takes too long to be honest and just when you think the movie has started, it keeps rushing along, aware that it has to take up five nights because it’s in the title.
So we’ll start with a prime example of overcharging, particularly through our hero’s personal quest: dreaming. If there’s a Freddy in the footage, it’s definitely Nightclaws because we spend too many moments in Mike’s dreams camping with the kids. Why ? Because it helps explain plot holes.
Are we implying that there are script elements that explain the script? That’s the goal, right? Certainly, but we will tell you that a well-designed narrative does not need purely explanatory scenes because everything flows naturally. In this case, we are faced with utilitarian sequences whose only interest is to make up for the deficiency that the story cannot overcome with its simple original premise. In total, Five Nights at Freddy’s he spends his time stopping to fill in the gaps, often repeating the same thing and above all, going in circles. We are faced with a film that does not know where to go, nor how to get there.
Just look at the tragic character of Vanessa played by Elizabeth Lail. A character whose function is to provide the hero and the viewer little by little with the elements of understanding the plot. Every time the movie doesn’t know how to tell something, it invokes Deus Ex Machina to Vanessa. A story-driven swiss army knife that wanders around to plug any leaks with the same subtlety as the delicate step of a six-foot rusty robot rabbit. Five Nights at Freddy’sfive nights was definitely too long.