Five Nights at Freddy's movie found unexpected inspiration in Joker and Steven Spielberg films

Josh Hutcherson and Piper Rubio in Five Nights at Freddy's
(Image credit: Total Film/Universal Pictures)

Five Nights at Freddy's, the upcoming horror movie starring Josh Hutcherson, obviously found most of its inspiration from the video game series in which its based. But according to director Emma Tammi, it was influenced by some unexpected titles too, including a bunch of Spielberg movies and Todd Phillips' Joker.

"We were constantly referencing Steven Spielberg – you know, that childhood wonderment quality," she tells Total Film magazine as part of an interview in the new issue out on September 14, which features Wonka on the cover. "Alongside kind of a darker world that felt akin to Joker," Tammi continues, explaining that the Joaquin Phoenix comic book drama mainly prompted visual ideas.

"Those were some of the cinematography references that Lyn Moncrief and I were pulling. Also, just the haunted house element of it was such a big influence. Some of our scenes that have to do with our main character's backstory and memory were also influenced by a [Terrence] Malick-esque camera style, to give them a more dreamlike quality… those scenes that were taking place in forest campground settings. There were a lot of different types of references we were pulling to really craft something that felt unique."

Also starring You's Elizabeth Lail and Scream's Matthew Lillard, Five Nights at Freddy's follows Hutcherson's security guard Mike, who gets more than he bargained for when he takes a nightshift job at Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria. Can he escape the mechanical clutches of the murderous animatronics long enough to survive the night? We'll find out once it hits theaters on October 27.

While the quotes above didn't actually make it into our published interview with Tammi, you can find the rest of our chat in the new issue of Total Film magazine, which features Wonka on the cover. The magazine hits shelves this Thursday, September 14, and features new insight into everything from The Exorcist: Believer to Killers of the Flower Moon, as well as plenty of reviews for all of the latest releases.

Wonka covers of Total Film

(Image credit: Total Film)

If you're a fan of Total Film, why not subscribe so that you never miss an issue? You'll get the magazine before it’s in shops, with exclusive subscriber-only covers (like the one pictured above). With our latest offer, you can get a free gift worth £69.99 when you take out a print/bundle subscription. Head to MagazinesDirect to find out more (Ts and Cs apply).

Total Film subscriber offer

(Image credit: Total Film)

Paul Bradshaw is a freelance film journalist who writes frequent reviews and features for Total Film. He's also a member of the London Critic's Circle.

With contributions from