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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Five Nights at Freddy’s is finally here. Can you survive?

Olivia Reid
Students in The Wave play video games in between classes. Photo by Olivia Reid / Photography Editor.

It’s been nine years since the release of the first “Five Nights at Freddy’s” video game, and fans have been patiently awaiting a movie deal since. The franchise has exploded over the past decade, with over ten games, multiple novels and a series of comics that outline the game’s extensive lore. 

YouTube has been a haven for the game, which has been broadcasted by multiple popular gamers on the platform. Fan art, cosplays and even real recreations of the game’s robotic characters are everywhere on social media. The internet is obsessed with Freddy Fazbear and his bandmates, so when the first trailer for the Blumhouse movie was finally released earlier this year, it caused a frenzy. 

For those who are unfamiliar, the game is centered around a haunted children’s entertainment venue. It’s similar to the Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, with an animatronic band that appears more creepy than cute. The eponymous Freddy Fazbear is the group’s lead singer, and he’s joined by Bonnie the Bunny, Chica the Chicken and Foxy the Fox. 

The player is placed in the shoes of the pizzeria’s new night security guard, completely unaware of what lies beneath the surface of the place. Throughout the games, the player learns that the animatronics are not what they seem, and neither are the people who built them. 

That’s a very watered down, bare-bones description. A deep dive into the lore of the series would take up this entire issue of The Mass Media. As the games have been released, the gameplay, production levels and storylines have all gotten more and more complex. This complexity, in the end, will likely be what kills the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie.

The franchise has spawned an extremely devoted fanbase that is dedicated to solving every mystery the series has to offer—which, unfortunately, seems to be impossible. With the wide reach of the series, along with a decade’s worth of source material, many fans would agree that the storyline has gotten completely out of hand. The relatively simple plotline was expanded upon in the second game, twisted in the third and then flipped upside down in the fourth. This cycle continued for six more mainline games. 

And that’s just the mainline. The series also has multiple spin-off games, a series of three novels, a comic series, and a series of short story compilations that continue to be published to this day. Scott Cawthon, the game’s creator, also loves to add lore to every bit of content he creates, even if it means one story contradicts another. It seems that the fans have more extensive knowledge of the storyline than he does. 

Even the most hardcore fans of the game are overwhelmed with all of the content. “The Game Theorists,” a YouTube channel that crafts timelines and theories of lore-filled games, has nearly one hundred videos on the series alone. Every release since 2015 has claimed to be the so-called “final game,” which has caused frustration among theorists and players. The game went from being something simple, creepy and novel in the genre to being oversaturated and annoying. The newest game was a major flop among critics and players alike. People are a little tired of Freddy.

That’s not to say that the movie isn’t heavily anticipated; rumors of a film adaptation have been circulating since April 2015. Millions of fans are waiting to see what the movie has to offer, so it would be an understatement to say that it has a lot to live up to. 

Sadly, there’s only so much the movie can do in a limited run-time, which means that important story details are likely going to be left out. A two-hour film simply cannot reach anywhere near the scope of three novels and ten games. 

This does introduce a very plausible fear among the fanbase, which is the inevitability of a sequel—possibly multiple. If this is the case, it would mean more years of waiting for something that fans can’t be sure won’t let them down. Even scarier is the idea that the films could introduce even more unheard lore, bogging down the already oversaturated timeline.

The movie doesn’t have the advantage of an original concept, either, which means that fans are going to approach the movie with expectations in mind. This isn’t great for filmmakers, who want their creations to be novel and unpredictable, especially in the horror genre.

Fans of the franchise know what to expect from the movie in terms of jumpscares, story and characters, which means that a lot of the mystery that makes horror so great is going to be missing. Sure, there will be viewers who are unfamiliar with the franchise, but they won’t make up the majority; after all, this is fan service. The movie exists to please people who have played the game.

The creators of the film are thus faced with a dilemma: they have a movie that fans are foaming at the mouth for, but will almost certainly let them down. It won’t be scary to those who are already familiar with the material, it won’t be able to cram a decade’s worth of lore into a short amount of time and it won’t have the reach to draw in audiences that don’t already play the games. 

However, this could all be incorrect. Before anyone can jump to conclusions, they need to see the movie. It was released in theaters and streaming on Peacock on Oct. 27—go forth and see if Freddy’s wrath will ultimately be too much to handle.

About the Contributor
Olivia Reid, Photo Editor