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For about an hour Five Nights at Freddy’s is a diverting, familiar spin on the haunted house movie, before a handful of overwrought plot points set the film on a course towards the ridiculous.

Let’s be honest: movie adaptations of bestselling videogames are rarely good. Still, for about sixty minutes Five Nights at Freddy’s delivers a pleasing mix between old-school horror clichés, a fun atmosphere and some lively animatronics.

The story centres on a security guard, still haunted by the kidnapping of his younger brother years ago, who takes on a nighttime job at the abandoned family restaurant Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, where soon the animatronic mascots come to life and confront him with his inner demons.

You can probably guess where the tale goes from there, but the story moves at a brisk pace, most characters are one-dimensional fun and Emma Tammi’s direction bathes everything in eighties-style sound and vision. Up to the halfway point Five Nights at Freddy’s might not be original but it is effortlessly entertaining.

Alas when the movie should be kicking up a higher gear it suddenly dumps a bucket of exposition to explain all the strange goings-on at Freddy’s and gets sillier instead of creepier and more boring instead of more suspenseful.

The entire final act of the film negates the popcorn fun of its first hour and descends into a derivative mess that few people will be entertained by. So yes, add Five Nights at Freddy’s to the long list of movie adaptations of bestselling videogames that just isn’t good at all.

release: 2024

director: Emma Tammi

starring: Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Lail, Mary Stuart Masterson, Matthew Lillard


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