By the Last Token Gaming Staff
A month has passed since Five Nights At Freddy’s 3 has arrived on Steam, and it seems that Freddy Fazbear and his pals are heading to the big screen. Warner Bros. has decided to jump on the Fazbear train and lead the production of the film. Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment (Run All Night, The Ring, The Grudge) will be leading the production along with Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg of KatzSmith Productions. From speculation, it looks like Scott Cawthon, Five Nights At Freddy’s creator, might put in some creative input if it manages to get off the ground.
While the movie might have potential to catch on with the audiences after catching on with the YouTube Let’s Play crowd, video game-based movies have a history of receiving critical scorn. Will this movie break the trend? Or will it be next in line to Hollywood purgatory? The Last Token Gaming staff shares their thoughts in regards to this matter.
Jake Rushing: Even though the most recent game blew my expectations away and turned out to be more original than I expected it to be, I am actually done with the whole franchise. It was fun for awhile, and I’m sure that everyone can agree that it is time we let the franchise fade into obscurity.
However, since a movie is imminent, there might be a chance to change things up with the movie while keeping the main parts that made FNAF what it is. I mean, I know there are going to be jump scares given what it’s known for, but I feel that there is potential to give the movie a different angle on the horror, perhaps give it a take on psychological horror with a little of jump scare added in the mix. If Scott gets a chance to give his creative input, the movie might not turn out so bad. I mean, look what happened to South Park: The Stick of Truth when they let Matt Stone and Trey Parker be the leads for the game. Then again, I may be too optimistic.
Terry Randolph: I remember how much I enjoyed the concept behind Five Nights at Freddy’s because of one reason; I remember just how terrifying the Chuck E. Cheese animatronic was when I was a little kid. Seeing the way Bonnie, Chica and Freddy’s eyes appeared just as lifeless as his reaffirmed that animatronics from the 80s and 90s were insanely creepy. Seeing them walk…now you’re just making things worse. Pair that off with trying to conserve as much battery power as possible to make it through six hours in one night? Well…f*ck
All jokes aside, the game really needed you to suspend your disbelief for the concept to actually work. The main character is stuck to a chair sitting still for six hours as if someone glued them to the seat. Plus, would anyone really come back to the same job five days in a row after finding out that animatronics are going to kill you if they see you? Seriously, after the first night I would’ve gotten the hell out of there without thinking twice. Heck, I’d be looking for weapons to fight my way out if I had to.
Not to mention, due to the game’s size and concept, it’s limited in its ability to maintain the scares. The more you see the jump scares, the more they lose their luster. Like I’ve said before in my review of P.T., there are three types of jump scares. Five Nights at Freddy’s goes for number one without batting an eyelid; the oft-use, cliche-riddled jumpscares. Then the second and third games came out within a year, and have never deviated from the same basic principles. Instead they focused on adding more rules to make the games a little more complex.
The other major problem I’ve had with the game is how muddled the mythos and lore have gotten. While the mini-games have been fun and interesting as well as establishing some concrete facts, their ambiguity leaves so much to interpretation. That sort of ambiguity really engages and involves players for a game, but for it to work within the realm of a movie? I’m not so sure.
And that’s where the problem lies; the formula and concept of the game are nigh impossible to adapt into a successful movie. How long are we going to be able to handle dealing with a main character who doesn’t move even when in danger? Why would they even stay for the whole six hours and not try to get to the nearest exit?
It’s way too early to predict the outcome of the movie, but I think it’d be more interesting if they explore the origins of the series (like the “Bite of 87”) or the murders resulting in the haunted animatronics. However, if they try to retell a story from the game series…I’d be worried.
Overall, I feel like we’ve gotten way too much of the franchise already. We’ve gotten three games already, and now we’re hearing discussion of a movie production? Please, no more.
Marshall Garvey: Once again, I pitch in my FNAF-related views as someone who hasn’t played the games, save for a few minutes of the first. But honestly, that disclaimer no longer matters. With all three of these games being released in well under a year, we’ve been greatly overexposed to it in a way that mirrors the flurry of Paranormal Activity movies. Remember when the first film came out, and you saw all the clips of everyone overreacting in the theaters, and the assurance from your friends that it really was that scary? Then, before you knew it, another three sequels had been barfed out, and no one batted an eye as they were so tired of it already. Replace paranormal spooks with giant furries, turn it into a video game, and you’ve got basically the same thing with FNAF.
I will say, though, that this is perfect timing with my recent piece about what games could actually make for good movies or television shows. I want to just double down and absolutely lambast the idea of a Five Nights at Freddy’s movie being any good. But as I’ve said, I love the mythos that Scott Cawthon has created, at least before he muddled it endlessly in the franchise’s later installments. The mysterious Bite of ‘87, the unexplained reason those suits are possessed, the puppet, the purple guy in the mini-games…it could all be brilliantly told for most of the movie, and make the scares more effective.
But let’s be honest: It’s likely to be a ripe piece of shit. Before the FNAF phenomenon was spun out by cheap sequels and its breathlessly annoying tween fanbase, the first game of the franchise really was a masterstroke of minimalist horror brilliance. It not only played on unique fears only a certain generation of kids would understand, but it achieved its scares without being able to move, no musical soundtrack, and only allowing you to click on objectives like a 90’s LucasArts game. And it was STILL perhaps the scariest game in years, in a way that made no sense when you thought about it but worked nonetheless.
To say the least, Hollywood will bypass all of that restrained, understated brilliance as a veritable first step for the movie. We know they’ll simply emphasize the jump scares, without any of the context that made them effective in the first game. Hell, my comparison of the gaming series to Paranormal Activity (which I have to thank Smosh Games’ Honest Game Trailers for) may ultimately come full circle in how this movie is made. Aesthetically, it’ll be cheaply made, have a bunch of run-of-the-mill obnoxious ads on YouTube, won’t be screened for critics in advance, and likely fade away after a few weeks. I could be wrong….but as the games have been increasingly made as a repetitious cash grab, why expect the movie to be made any differently?