There was a rumor at one time that Five Nights at Freddy’s was three hours long. Thankfully, that’s not the case, but mercilessly this so-called horror movie is five nights and 110 minutes too long.
Based on a popular video game franchise that I’d never heard of, Five Fails at Freddy’s greatest accomplishment is actively avoiding any scares for its entire runtime. It’s actually quite incredible.
The game is apparently known for its jump scares, and yet Five Fails barely tries—and even when it does, they simply don’t work (admittedly, someone sitting next to me jumped once). Jump scares are the cheapest, easiest, and lamest of horror gimmicks, and it’s odd the movie doesn’t even attempt to stuff itself with them—even for laughs.
It’s a shame, because there’s potential for a decent movie. The story isn’t terrible. Josh Hutcherson is pretty good. The animatronic creatures are pretty creepy. According to the two teenage boys who were guests of mine, the set design was spot on, and there was a fun factor to the nostalgia of it all.
Unfortunately, the fun is absent more often than not. The PG-13 rating doesn’t help, but really it felt like a PG horror movie pretending to be for the big kids—there is no gore and only one silhouette of a decent kill scene. Suspense is nonexistent, the thrills laughable. The big baddie could have been nasty but is given nothing to do. It’s a movie that should at least try to push the limits of its rating but instead cowers from it.
Five Fails at Freddy’s, based on the cheering at the end, apparently appealed to the game’s fans—there are a couple key cameos from people I’d never heard of that elicited excitement—but it truly is a fail by every definition of a horror movie.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.