Five Nights at Freddy's movie

So, About Those ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s Movie Reviews …

Should fans be worried?

Five Nights at Freddy’s is fast approaching in the U.S. In fact, the film is already out in the U.K., with reaction videos pouring onto YouTube from European viewers. Heartfelt apologies to FNAF fans in the U.S., but the next two days might just be the longest wait of your life as you see your buddies overseas watch Emma Tammi’s latest horror flick ahead of time.

Recommended Videos

FNAF will screen in U.S. theaters (and on Peacock) later this week, but the film already looks to be an incredibly divisive video game adaptation. Film critics and series fans simply can’t agree on the film’s direction. Is it filled with too much love for the fans? Is it a generic romp with not enough gore? Or is it legitimately scary, exciting, and worth the hype? Here’s what critics and fans are saying so far.

Those FNAF movie reviews aren’t looking so hot

Unfortunately for Five Nights at Freddy’s fans, critics have some strong words to share for the FNAF series’ first cinematic adaption. Words like “generic,” “ploddingly predictable,” and “yawn.” Ouch.

Total Film called Five Nights at Freddy’s a “gore-lite yawner.” Despite the fabulous design of the Freddy Fazbear Pizza Place’s out-of-control animatronics, film critic Neil Smith said the film simply couldn’t live up to the superior premise and execution of the other recent “demon doll” film from the same producers, M3GAN.

Smith gave the film two out of five stars, declaring Five Nights at Freddy’s “five nights too many.”

Chica and Carl from Five Nights at Freddy's
Universal Pictures

Meanwhile, Digital Spy’s Ian Sandwell appreciated the movie’s “video game nods” but feared Scott Cawthon’s script would “disappoint fans and leave newcomers wondering what the fuss is about.” Sandwell gave the movie 2/5 stars and concluded the film simply couldn’t bridge the video game series’ appeal over to the silver screen.

“It certainly looks the part and you can’t fault the animatronics, which are spot-on recreations of the game characters. The same could be said for the story, which pulls in various bits of canon and is sure to leave fans delighted with the various Easter eggs,” Sandwell wrote. “Yet it never really feels like much more than a ticking of elements off a list. The movie certainly has the trappings of FNAF, but little of the appeal or tone of the games, which leaves you wondering who it’s for.”

Over at The Independent, the FNAF film was criticized for sidelining the game series’ incredible lore. Chief film critic Clarisse Loughrey blasted the adaptation for completely ignoring the larger story behind the FNAF video game franchise in exchange for “the same tortuously drawn out, dreary portrait of ‘trauma’ we’ve seen a hundred times before.”

“It makes for a lot less robot murder than you’d hope for, and even the carnage itself is severely hampered by the film’s efforts to land a bloodless PG-13 rating in the U.S.,” Loughrey said. “And for what? Most of the game’s fanbase are of drinking age by now — and it’s hard to believe anyone new will be converted by this broad adaptation.”

FNAF fans don’t have to be too worried, though

On the other hand, plenty of FNAF fans loved the film. Over on the r/fivenightsatfreddys subreddit, U.K. viewers generally praised the film and approved of it. One Redditor agreed the film “isn’t as scary as maybe it should have been,” but gave it an 8/10, declaring “there are definitely a few creepy, thrilling moments throughout the film.” A second viewer called it “amazing,” but “just not as jumpy as I thought/hoped it would be.”

“Personally I thought it was good,” another fan said. “Was not scary in the slightest but the story was good and if you’re a FNAF fan you’ll enjoy it.”

So, should FNAF fans be worried about the critics’ reviews? Probably not. Case in point, FNAF YouTuber Dawko and his entourage adored the film when they went to see it on FNAF’s U.K. premiere night. In an “emotional” video after, Dawko claimed the film received a warm reception among viewers at the premiere, and he said FNAF fans will “love” some of the “solid” scenes that will shock and scare audiences.

“It’s thrilling, emotional, scary,” Dawko said. “This film is being made carefully with love and passion for the franchise, with Scott behind the scenes, which is always great for a movie. I think obviously FNAF fans are gonna absolutely love this movie, but I do think newcomers are gonna like it as well.”

So, is FNAF another case of The Super Mario Bros. Movie — fans and critics sharply divided on a video game adaptation’s merit? It seems likely. But don’t take my word for it. FNAF fans can figure out the film’s value for themselves. Five Nights at Freddy’s is out now in the U.K., and will be available in theaters and on Peacock on Oct. 27 in the U.S.

(featured image: Universal Pictures)

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Ana Valens
Ana Valens
Ana Valens (she/her) is a reporter specializing in queer internet culture, online censorship, and sex workers' rights. Her book "Tumblr Porn" details the rise and fall of Tumblr's LGBTQ-friendly 18+ world, and has been hailed by Autostraddle as "a special little love letter" to queer Tumblr's early history. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her ever-growing tarot collection.