Drab downer: ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ takes a video game premise and removes all life from it

Five Nights at Freddy’s is both streaming on Peacock and making big box office in a wide theatrical release—and I opted to stay home and watch. This was a wise choice, because this piece of shit isn’t worth the gas I would have burned driving to the neighborhood movie theater.

Based on a series of video games and set in the early ’90s, Five Nights at Freddy’s stars Josh Hutcherson as Mike, a depressed guy raising his sister, Abby (Piper Rubio). Mike has a bad history; he witnessed the abduction of his younger brother, an event that has permanently scarred him. He has a hard time getting jobs but manages to score a security gig at an abandoned pizza place/arcade reminiscent of Chuck E. Cheese.

The bombed-out arcade is inhabited by menacing animatronics—and it turns out they are murderous creatures, although he lets his little sister hang out with them for a little bit before eventually doing battle with them, PG-13 style.

Director Emma Tammi somehow manages to make it all thoroughly depressing. I suppose there’s a potential for some good, nasty fun here, but Tammi makes it all very drab and somber. The movie never comes to life, and nothing in it makes a lick of sense.

Nicolas Cage starred in a movie called Willy’s Wonderland (2021) that was also inspired by the same game. That wasn’t one of Cage’s best, but at least it had some life to it, along with some attempts at humor.

Five Nights at Freddy’s, on the other hand, may make you quit movies about video games—and perhaps videogames all together.

Five Nights at Freddy’s is in theaters and streaming on Peacock.

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Originally posted 2023-10-30 18:26:09.