Five Nights at Freddy’s (2023) – Fresh Meat #11

I haven’t played the game, but I have seen Willy’s Wonderland and The Banana Splits Movie, so that counts for something, right? I can consider myself an expert on animatronics turning into real life murdering maniacs……right? Well, regardless of the poor reviews and the lackluster PG-13 rating, FNaF grossed 136 million dollars (as of this article) on a 20-million-dollar budget, so there is definitely a demand for the film. Not to mention, you can watch it for free on Peacock *with subscription or a friend’s login* and not spend a dime in the theatre, and it STILL made that much money! Further proof that there is no animatronic burnout in American cinemas. 


A troubled security guard begins working at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. During his first night on the job, he realizes that the night shift won’t be so easy to get through. Pretty soon he will unveil what actually happened at Freddy’s. 

IMDb: 5.6 

Rotten Tomatoes: 25% 

Tagline: Can you survive? 

At one time, Chris Columbus (the director not the explorer) was set to direct a script by Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) and it was supposed to be a much darker, scarier film. But things change often in the movie business, and we got a much more ‘younger audience friendly’ film directed by virtual unknown Emma Tammi. One can only imagine the version we could have had. 

It’s nice to see Matthew Lillard in a big screen movie. It’s been a long time. I always enjoyed his character work, but it’s sad to see him looking so old. He’ll never be Stu Macher again (unless they finally work him back into the Scream franchise), but I can still dream about him making some crazy faces and overacting like a maniac. He just needs the right role.

Josh Hutcherson, who hasn’t done anything since Hunger Games, seemingly plays a version of himself here. He is very much down on his luck. Needs a job badly. Will take anything. Decides to become an overnight security guard  –er– actor in a low budget horror film.  I’m just glad we don’t have a Katniss appearance. Peeta needs to stand on his own.

Yeah, Aunt Jane is a total cunt. Yeah, Mike is a good guy and a great brother. Yeah, he is totally messed up after his brother’s kidnapping. It seems like a lot of backstory for a measly little horror film. FNaF spends a lot of time on this backstory, which either makes or breaks the movie. On one hand, with a runtime approaching 2 hours, it makes for a lot of padding. There are numerous non-senical flashbacks which all backup the theme that poor old Mike is distraught over his brother’s disappearance. I mean, we get it. As a result of this, not much happens in terms of horror until the 42 minute mark. I’m not saying it’s boring, but it’s just got that feel of a PG-13 film that cares more about its characters than blood, gore, and horror.

On the other hand, you get to truly meet and care about Mike. Since so much time is spent on him, he’s basically one of like 2 main characters. This means the rest of the characters are cannon fodder and will get slaughtered…off screen and bloodless. But at least we like Mike, dammit!

A nice retro synth score gives the film a nice throwback feel to go along with the neon glow of the inside of the Chuck E. Cheese’s –er– I mean Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. I dig the occasional 80s tune as well. The feel of the film is very well done and stylish.

But overall, once you’ve seen one crazy animatronic film, you’ve seen them all. This SHOULD have been more in the vein of the hyper violent and adult Banana Splits. Yet, it’s still fun and enjoyable. There’s something to be said about playing it safe. About bunting the runner over instead of going for the base hit. I just wish they would have foregone the field goal and taken a pass downfield for the TD.

6.0/10 Stab Wounds


About RetRo(n) 60 Articles
I like the 80s, slasher films, Italian directors, Evil Ed, Trash and Nancy, Ripley and Private First Class Hudson, retro crap but not SyFy crap, old school skin, Freddy and Savini, Spinell and Coscarelli, Andre Toulon, and last, but not least, Linda Blair.