film reel image

film reel image

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Five Nights at Freddy's 2023 * * * Stars


2023's Five Nights at Freddy's represents a new breed in horror. It's almost like a horror drama if you will. Sure people get killed and blood is shed but there's a complexity to "Freddy's", a sort of non-archetypal way in which it goes about its business. There's child abduction and family custody stuff and oh yeah, mechanical, puppet-like bots who like to get their Saw on. Emma Tammi directs by adapting "Freddy's" from a video game (of the same name). She also digs up the body of The Romantics "Talking in Your Sleep" for added effect. "And I know that I'm right 'cause I hear it in the night". Uh-huh.

Shot in Louisiana and ready-made for the spooky season (that would be Halloween), Five Nights at Freddy's takes its time with the audience, reveling in setups and slow burn spectacle as opposed to just laying down the gore (hence the PG-13 rating). I mean if you've seen the trailer you'd think that you would be getting a straight-up slasher pic or snuff contrivance. Wrong. "Freddy's" is like a grubby version of a dramatic sitcom with a little food chain carnage thrown in. Yup, I see a box-office drop from "Freddy's" awesome opening take (78 mil). And I also see some bloodthirsty fright fans turned off from future viewings. Oh well. There's enough eerie, humor exaggeration and glow dim, 80s palate to at least garner a slight recommendation. "Where fantasy and fun come to life". Indeed.

Starring Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Lail, and Matthew Lillard (who again gets his Scream fix via a twist ending), Five Nights at Freddy's is about a rattled thirtysomething who takes on a security job at an abandoned pizza joint similar to the famed Chuck E. Cheese. There, he encounters things that go bump in his night shift and a whole lot more. The performances are decent, the animatronics are kind of creepy, and the scare factor is sadly only abundant if you've lived a sheltered, cinematic existence. I'll bite. I mean I've seen schlock like Hell Fest and this is much better. Taking "five".

Written by Jesse Burleson

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