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ICE Media

FNAF: Hated It

The word “adaptation” reasonably strikes fear into content consumers’ hearts.

Having your favorite piece of media converted to the film format should be exciting. However, more often than not film adaptations of games or animated shows leave much to be desired. The “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie that was released in October was unfortunately not an exception.

The first red flag regarding the quality of this film was reflected in the PG-13 rating.

Although the game’s primary fanbase may be on the younger side, it is definitely not kid friendly. Its story is based around homicidal animatronics that have been possessed by the ghosts of the children that were shoved inside them. It is most known for the jump scares and extensive body horror that is depicted throughout the whole film. A piece of media such as this, which has been defined by the gore within its content cannot be properly translated into a PG-13 movie.

And…it wasn’t.

The content rating resulted in a movie that severely lacked the horrific moments that thrill-seekers were looking forward to near Halloween. In the nearly two-hour run time, there are only two kill sequences. The first doesn’t take place until after an excruciatingly long 40 minutes of exposition.

With so few moments of actual carnage, there is also no excuse for most of the action taking place off-screen. Practically every moment when a character is about to face a brutal end is cut off, leaving viewers not with feelings of terror but disappointment.

Another critical hit to the movie’s scare factor was the humanization of the animatronics. I don’t have a problem with emphasizing that there are children who possess these monsters. But, in my opinion, it was taken too far.

In the film, the animatronics are seen having dance parties, building a fort, and maintaining a friendship with the child character Abby. This montage significantly lowers the stakes of the movie by delegitimizing the supposed-to-be fear-inducing animatronics.

And this is not something that occurs in the game itself, making it a creative choice that completely rips the audience out of the immersive horror experience for which they bought tickets.

The culmination of this issue was seen in the final parts of the movie where the character William Afton comes toe-to-toe with death. This is a crucial moment in the game’s lore, where he is crushed by the mechanics of the suit he is wearing in a sickeningly mutilating event of bloodshed.

Or it was supposed to be. Because instead, to maintain that PG-13 rating, the body horror was minimal. Even seasoned actor Matthew Lillard’s delivery of Afton’s final words was lackluster, making this epic climax seem like just another part of the film.

As a horror lover first and a Five Nights at Freddy’s game fan second, I was heavily dissatisfied with the movie. It is shocking that Blumhouse somehow managed to make this terrifying game with such a rich backstory boring. With a budget of $25.1 million, this movie had every opportunity to be a modern cult classic.

But as it is, the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie will remain amongst all the other bad adaptations in the mediocre movie graveyard.