Five Nights at Freddy's review: "Five nights too many"

Five Nights at Freddy's
(Image: © Universal Studios)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Five Nights at Freddy’s is five nights too many. Where’s M3GAN when you need her?

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“This is going to be so much fun!” cackles a villainous character at one point in Five Nights At Freddy’s, a big-screen adaptation of the popular video game in which animatronic monsters run amok in the remnants of an ’80s pizza joint. Alas, despite sharing the same producers and story ingredients as demon doll hit M3GAN, Emma Tammi’s puppet show only occasionally comes close to delivering on that promise.

An episode of Scooby-Doo would make a more suitable comparison, especially given Matthew ‘Shaggy’ Lillard’s appearance as the career counsellor who sets Mike (Josh Hutcherson) up as the eponymous restaurant’s security guard. There are shades of Night at the Museum as well as Mike, tasked with ensuring the abandoned eatery doesn’t get even more dilapidated, quickly gets used to a nocturnal regime of black-and-white monitor-watching and surreptitious shut-eye.

Until, that is, he discovers that Freddy’s resident quartet of bestial mascots have the power to come alive; turns out they’re posssessed by the ghosts of kids who – like Mike’s brother Garrett – went mysteriously missing back in the restaurant’s heyday. The frightful foursome now have plans for Mike’s other sibling Abby (Piper Rubio), whose crayon drawings carry eerie echoes of the pizzeria’s painful past.

With robot heads containing flesh-mangling chainsaws, faces resembling that of battle-scarred Terminators, and the lumbering gait of Romero zombies, Freddy Fazbear and his pals would seem precision-tooled for terror. Sadly, though, they are about as scary as Barney the purple dinosaur in what is ultimately a ploddingly predictable, gore-lite yawner. 

Five Nights at Freddy's is in UK cinemas on October 25 and in US cinemas on October 27. 

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Freelance Writer

Neil Smith is a freelance film critic who has written for several publications, including Total Film. His bylines can be found at the BBC, Film 4 Independent, Uncut Magazine, SFX Magazine, Heat Magazine, Popcorn, and more.