The student news site of Fishers High School, Fishers, Indiana

Tiger Times

The student news site of Fishers High School, Fishers, Indiana

Tiger Times

The student news site of Fishers High School, Fishers, Indiana

Tiger Times

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Annotated Library shelf in the FHS library.
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A new section, called the Annotated Library in the FHS Library was launched on Tuesday, Oct. 24. Cofounders seniors Olivia Flanagan and Maddy...

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Ricky, a Chinese member of Zerobaseone, is being stood up for by fans on Twitter and other social media platforms due to a look inside the mistreatment...

Kassie Ferris’s 2023 Halloween party
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Halloween is an opportunity to express oneself in a way that showcases the individual's personality. Halloween is celebrated on Oct. 31 but is...

REVIEW: Five Nights at Freddy’s

FNaF highlights the struggle of satisfying both fans and newcomers in a cinematic adaptation

You do not need my dinky little personal review to tell you that Five Nights at Freddy’s is divisive. One glance at the Rotten Tomatoes page paints the picture immediately; it currently has a 27% from critics, and an 88% from the audience. I could also observe this directly from the audience during my own viewing, witnessing a peculiar mix of both interested and engaged fans alongside confused and bored viewers.

This tale seems to continuously happen with cinematic adaptations. The creators of such films need to simultaneously introduce an unfamiliar audience as well as faithfully portray the material in question (and, by extension, not bore pre-existing fans). Lean too far towards either end of this metaphorical scale, and roughly 50% of the audience is unhappy. I enjoyed this movie, but how much of that is owed to my prior knowledge of FNaF?

Five Nights at Freddy’s features the story of unreliable caretaker Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson) finding himself in desperate need of a job to support his younger sister Abby (Piper Rubio) after an altercation caused by Mike’s traumatic past experiences. An eccentric career counselor (Matthew Lilard) sends Mike to work at a closed-down pizzeria as the security guard. In time, and with the assistance of police officer Vannesa (Elizabeth Lail), Mike discovers that he has a connection with this building, and the animatronics inside.

Fortunately, I would say this film has a backbone beyond just artificial sweeteners like “easter eggs” and “appealing to the fanbase.” For one, I was impressed with how it managed to utilize material accuracy while still telling a complete story (which is a problem I and quite a few others had with The Super Mario Bros. Movie), with proper themes and enjoyable characters. Said themes are actually extrapolated from the stories of the games that came before it, involving subjects such as grief and manipulation. In particular, a message about the importance of a child’s emotions as they learn to express themselves is something you probably would not expect from a movie like this.

Speaking of which, this movie is purposefully humorous and self-aware, while not being an outright parody of itself. There is not a character spouting some undermining “so that just happened!” line, but the creators knew going in that a premise like “murderous pizzeria animatronics” would have an inherent air of silliness to it. As such, this is not really a true “horror” movie, and the level of “tense-ness” varies wildly throughout. Even the scenes that are not blatantly “comedic” have a looming feeling of campiness to them, but even then, the themes of the movie are not compromised, making it feel more “whole;” it is “campy,” but not “schlocky.”

Still, reading this, you can probably understand why the film is critically unpopular. This ties back into what is the movie’s biggest hindrance: confusing an unfamiliar audience. Not to spoil, but there were multiple elements of the story that confused some of my family (and, I imagine, a lot of professional film critics), which I mostly understood. The movie relies on a clued-in fanbase a little too much. And, generally speaking, to advertise FNaF purely as “horror” is not wholly accurate, and this is probably what hurt the film most for uninformed viewers. 

So, with all of this in mind, I struggle to wholeheartedly recommend the movie. Your enjoyment of this movie is going to vary depending on two key factors; prior knowledge of the series’ general tone and elements, and personal enjoyment of “camp horror.” If you can get behind it, or just want to give an interesting little movie a try (it is already available to stream on Peacock!), give Five Nights at Freddy’s a shot.

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About the Contributor
Tanner Guillot, Reporter
Tanner Guillot is a somewhat unremarkable dork of a senior. He hails from Las Vegas, having moved in 2015, and spends much of his time in the Tiger Marching Band. At home, he cooks simple meals, casually draws (advanced doodles?) in one of a long line of sketchbooks, and spends time with his 2 dogs and single cat.

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