Finally, a coherent storyline!
As someone who’s followed the Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF) franchise since its beginning, I’m delighted to report that the FNAF movie has a coherent plot. FNAF’s early popularity stemmed, in part, from its mysteries, which united a fandom hungry for answers. Going into the movie, I was worried that it would continue the franchise’s now long-standing tradition of posing questions without revealing answers. However, the movie boldly gives us a clear storyline, albeit one that doesn’t answer the franchise’s mysteries. Ready to take a bite out of this movie?
Be warned: there’s mild spoilers ahead.
The story follows Michael Schmidt, or Mike, as he works several night shifts at the abandoned Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza Place. As a child, he was traumatized by the kidnapping and disappearance of his younger brother. Now an adult, Mike keeps getting fired. His parents have both passed away, and he looks after but struggles to get along with his little sister, Abby. He’s at rock bottom when a career counsellor suggests he work at Freddy’s. Reluctant at first, Michael ultimately decides to accept the role to keep his aunt from getting custody of Abby. As the movie progresses, he meets police officer Vanessa, and the trio gets to know the animatronics. However, Michael eventually comes to realize that they might not be as friendly towards Abby as they’d initially anticipated.
FNAF fans will notice that some of these names seem familiar. I was jubilant to see an alternate take on Vanessa after she was rendered an afterthought in the game FNAF: Security Breach. The movie’s easter eggs don’t feel overindulgent. YouTubers MatPat and CoryxKenshin have brief speaking roles and an “Employee of the Month’”board features certain YouTubers. You’ll hear a trademark line or two.
Other moviegoers also enjoyed the film. Jessica Kroetsch has followed the franchise since Markiplier played the first FNAF game.
“As a fan of the series, I really liked [that] they delved more into the story and how things happened and why they happened,” says Kroetsch.
The movie does have a couple of weak spots, one of which is a recurring cheap jumpscare played for laughs. This is admittedly minor in the grand scheme of things, but a I found it increasingly annoying each time it popped up.
The second issue is the shallow villains. First is Michael’s aunt It feels like her whole personhood is centered around forcing Michael to give up custody of Abby. While she does explain why Michael is lacking as Abby’s guardian, it’s done in such a way that she’s portrayed as the worse option while Michael remains a sympathetic character. The main antagonist also doesn’t have much of a backstory and lacks a clear motivation. It isn’t clear why they returned to the pizzeria during the movie’s climax.
I also noticed that the springlock suit mechanics were inconsistent. In one scene, just a small tap is enough to make it snap shut, but later on, it’s shown to be safe to move around in.
It’s fun seeing the pizzeria in a cinematic setting and watching FNAF’s gameplay mechanics harmonize with a fitting plot. The animatronics look good in the context of the film, and the protagonist trio keep up the movie’s tension as they navigate escalating stakes. The movie certainly isn’t revolutionary, but it’s a fun experience for someone who’s followed the franchise for years. Astrid Challborn, an independent musician and student at Pixel Blue College, might’ve summed it up best.
“It was fantastic,” she laughs. “There were some pacing issues, definitely, but as a fan, 10 out of 10.”
Photo by ArtyDoesStuff via DeviantArt