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Film Reviews by Lisa Blanck
Five Nights At Freddy's
| Monday, 10.30.2023, 03:56 AM |   (426 views)

Let me preface this review by saying this reviewer is definitely NOT the target audience for this film. I have never played the video game on which it is based. I'm also not a huge horror fan, since, in my opinion, the majority of them are repetitive, low low budget and based on gore rather than story line.

But I walked into this film knowing it was a Blumhouse production, which usually bodes well for me. They produced M3GAN, The Black Phone and The Invisible Man. All of which I enjoyed.

Legends about missing children combined with killer Chuck E. Cheese knockoff animatronics? Sure, why not. I loved The Rock-afire Explosion documentary about Showbiz Pizza Place that was released in 2008, where the Cheese animatronics originated. That film was a tasty bit of nostalgia, even though I never visited a Showbiz as a child. The release for Five Nights even listed Freddy's animatronics as being created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

And hey, the producers cast some recognizable talent: Mary Stuart Masterson and Matthew Lillard.

So what could possibly go wrong? At the 1:20 mark, yes, I even checked my watch, Freddy's blew any semblance of rationality. Now, maybe I DID need to have played the videogame to max out my enjoyment of the film. There were certainly audience members who had their socks knocked off by, of all things, a cabdriver and a giant doll with a killer ribcage. But I can tell you, I wish I had invited a guest, just so I could confirm that little made any sense till the closing credits. And the things that did make sense were so predictable, it became tedious.

Mike (Josh Hutcherson) has custody of his 10-year-old sister, Abby (Piper Rubio). Mike has failed at not only every job he's managed to get, but also in dealing with the kidnapping of his younger brother, Garrett, when they were both just children.  It was Mike's responsibility to watch Garrett, and he blew it, big-time.  Abby never met the missing brother, but even making that small point in the film felt really difficult to follow. Mike has continual nightmares about the day his sibling vanished.

Mike takes the only job that's left to be offered to him, a nighttime security guard at an abandoned theme restaurant, “Freddy Fazbear's Pizza”. He's too financially strapped to say no because Mike's Aunt Jane (Masterson) is doing everything she can to get Abby into her clutches for the money that will come with being her guardian.

In the meantime, Abby has been crayoning pictures of bizarre family groupings that are pinned to the wall of her bedroom. It's fairly easy to see the resemblance between her drawings and Mike's nightmares. But no, Mike never catches on till it's too late. Why is that? Oh, right, because if he did, the movie would have actually been more interesting.

When Mike starts his job on night one, we're presented with four animatronics: Freddy, Foxy, Bonnie and Chica. They certainly aren't the friendly crew from Showbiz. There's definitely something off kilter with this quartet. One night Mike brings Abby to work with him, falls asleep, and then finds her consorting with the gang of four. Mike is horrified, but not enough to call someone, anyone, even maybe some Ghostbusters? Yeah, maybe he shouldn't have custody of his sister.

Masterson shows her true colors, all of them black, in every one of her scenes. This family is in need of serious therapy. Abby hates her Aunt because she's mean. But she's cool with killer 8' tall duckies who talk inside her head? Mmmm okay, if you say so. I asked some of the true fans, and you could easily tell who they were, if I was being too picky in my criticism. Perhaps I was judging the film too harshly. No, apparently I was on target. They also felt that Five Nights at Freddy's was four nights too long.  Can you survive even one night at Freddy's?  Who knows, but I don't recommend trying to. 

Lisa Blanck is the Associate Editor and Movie Reviewer for In  Her background includes 30+ years of digital editing for WESH2 News and WKMG News.  She also edits on-air promotional spots for Matter Of Fact, the number one nationally syndicated news and information program.  For more than 30 years she has covered the Florida Film Festival and the World Peace Film Festival, with additional experience in advertising, marketing, promotions and live special events at MTV Networks.  She was previously a columnist for the Focus In Newspaper and is a member of the Critics Association of Central Florida.  

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