Five Nights at Freddy’s: Everything You Need To Know About FNAF

in Entertainment, Movies

Freddy Fazbear with some animatronic skeletons behind him in the dark

Credit: ScottGames

Five Nights at Freddy’s (2023) is easily the most anticipated horror film of the year. Since it will officially release this Halloween weekend, here’s everything you need to know about the film and the beloved video game franchise.

Josh Hutcherson running from Freddy Fazbear, Foxy, and Bonnie in Five Nights at Freddy's
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

Halloween is almost here, and that means it is the perfect time to grab some popcorn, sit next to someone you fancy, and watch a scary movie. And even though most people will likely turn to recognized classics like Halloween (1978), Scream (1996), or Friday the 13th (1980), others will want to venture into theaters to get their frightening fix.

At this moment, it looks like movie theaters will have plenty of good horror options, like Exorcist: Believer (2023), Saw X (2023), or Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (2023) if you’re a hater, the movie that has garnered the most attention is easily Five Nights at Freddy’s.

Releasing in theaters and on Peacock on October 27, the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie is set to be one of the most successful films of the year with its modest budget and rabid fanbase. If you were a teenager or young adult in the 2010s, you knew about Five Nights at Freddy’s.

But there is still a good chance you don’t know anything about this movie or its source material and have a ton of questions. What’s the big deal? Why are these animatronics coming to life? Is this appropriate for my kids? To help out, we’ve collected as many questions as possible to help you understand what Five Nights at Freddy’s is all about. So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Five Nights at Freddy’s.

The Five Nights at Freddy’s Franchise

Bonnie, Freddy Fazbear, and Chica perform on a dimly lit stage
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

To people who may not know about video games, Five Nights at Freddy’s (also known as FNaF) may seem like an odd choice to turn into a film. There are many more games and horror titles from larger studios that still haven’t received any cinematic treatment. What makes FNaF so special?

You may be surprised to hear that, despite its humble beginnings as a small title being sold on Steam, FNaF has become one of the most successful video game franchises of all time, raking in millions of dollars each year. Here’s what makes it stand out from the rest of the pack.

What’s the History Behind Five Nights at Freddy’s?

Chica peaking through a door in your office in the Five Nights at Freddy's Video Game
Credit: Scottgames

The creator of FNAF is Scott Cawthon, who originally came up with the idea after his previous game, Chipper & Sons Lumber Co.(2013), was criticized for being “unintentionally terrifying” and having a main character that looked like “a scary animatronic animal” similar to Chuck E. Cheese.

Cawthon took this criticism and used it to make an intentionally terrifying game, Five Nights At Freddy’s (2014). After the series became a popular subject for YouTubers and streamers, sales skyrocketed, making FNaF one of the most successful indie game series of all time.

How Many Games Are There?

Most of the Five Nights At Freddy's video game covers
Credit: Scottgames

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Almost ten years later, there are now seventeen games under the FNaF banner, including nine main titles and eight spinoffs or DLC. A tenth main game will be released in December 2023 under the title Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted 2 (2023). It will be a VR title.

In 2020, Scott Cawthon started a project helping fans develop and release their own FNaF games. While these games are not a part of the main lore behind the series, it is still nice to see the creator reach out to the fandom in this way.

What’s the Lore Behind the Series?

The Happiest Day in Five NIghts at Freddy's, showing three colorful birthdays and one sad, gray birthday.
Credit: Scottgames

The very first game in the FNaF series had a fairly simple story. You are a security guard named Mike Schmidt who was hired to keep an eye on an abandoned restaurant named Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. However, the animatronics that made up the band came to life at night, wandering through the halls. You now need to use security cameras and doors to prevent these robotic monstrosities from getting to your office and killing you.

As you can tell, the original concept is straightforward and provides enough info to make the situation terrifying. However, as the series went on, the background of the game became deeper and more detailed, making for some of the most convoluted lore in gaming history. Fortunately, you don’t need to know everything for the first movie. Just enough to know why these animatronics have decided that you have to die.

A newspaper clipping saying that there is a job opening at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza
Credit: Scottgames

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If you want to go into the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie completely blind, SKIP TO THE NEXT SECTION. There will likely be spoilers here.

Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza was founded initially as FredBear’s Diner by William Afton and Henry Emily. It was soon expanded into the chain we recognize today. Afton was actually a serial killer who targeted children, often using the restaurant to target his victims. This included Emily’s daughter, Charlotte.

The ending of the Five Nights at Freddy's video game: a check for $120.50
Credit: Scottgames

Soon, Afton targeted a group of five children, killing them while dressed as one of the characters and luring them to a pizza party. These children would possess the animatronics, leading to the restaurant being shut down due to the smell. After it was closed, the animatronics would come to life at night, attacking anyone in their search for William Afton. Afton would go on to open up multiple other restaurants and a robotics company that made these animatronics.

What’s wild is that this isn’t even half of the backstory for each game. Every title has introduced a wealth of information that is far too detailed to go into at this moment. For the sake of the first movie, this is likely all you’ll need to know.

Who Are the Animatronics?

Foxy, Chica, Freddy Fazbear, and Bonnie on a dimly lit stage in Five Night's At Freddy's
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

The most visually iconic part of FNaF is the various animatronics. The game is a nightmare for someone with automatonophobia, with each member of the band wandering the restaurant and leaping at you.

The core group is made up of four animatronics: Bonnie, Chica, Foxy, and, of course, Freddy Fazbear. Bonnie is an indigo bunny who plays guitar. Chica is a yellow chicken and the backup singer of the band. She is often accompanied by a cupcake aptly named Mr. Cupcake. Foxy is a red pirate fox equipped with an eye patch and hook hand. He does not play in the band. Finally, there’s the titular Freddy Fazbear, a bear in a top hat who is the band’s lead singer.

Golden Freddy and Abby Schmidt in the back of a car in Five Nights at Freddy's
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

There are many other animatronics who eventually roam the halls of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza or its sister location, including The Puppet, Ballon Boy, Circus Baby, Ballora, Ennard, and the Mimic. However, it is unlikely that any of them will appear in the movie.

Many of the animatronics also have different variations of their characters, like Spring Bonnie and Scrap Baby. Fortunately, the only one who seems vital to the movie is Golden Freddy, who can be seen in the trailer getting into a cab with Abby. Whether he’s a friend or foe remains to be seen.

Is There Anything Else?

A wide variety of five nights at freddy's books
Credit: Scottgames

Oh God, yes. Quite a lot. There are three main novels and dozens of comics exploring the mythos and history of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza and the tragic incident that took place at the restaurant. On top of this, there is a plethora of merchandise, including plush toys, action figures, construction sets, and so much more.

All of this is a reflection of the bonkers popularity surrounding the franchise. Numerous online content creators have built their careers solely around FNaF, and on some gaming websites, it is listed as its own genre so that the site won’t get overwhelmed by traffic. Really, it was only a matter of time before a movie was made.

The Five Nights at Freddy’s Movie

The Internet Reacts to 'Five Nights at Freddy's' Official Trailer
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

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With the massive popularity and intense fandom behind FNaF, you know it was only a matter of time before a movie would be made. And, frankly, you couldn’t ask for a better team behind a horror movie.

The film is being produced by horror juggernaut Blumhouse Productions and distributed by Universal Pictures, hence why it made an appearance at Halloween Horror Nights. It is being directed by Emma Tammi with a screenplay written by creator Scott Cawthon, Seth Cuddleback, and Tammi.

What is the Plot of the Movie?

The animatronics at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza performing on stage while the bunny sparks and malfunctions
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

Related: Man Begs Universal Not to Sue After Leaking Anticipated Trailer

The movie largely follows the plot of the first game, although some changes have had to be made because film is an entirely different medium than video games. Still, it is worth going through a quick synopsis of the plot to know what exactly the audience is getting into.

The film follows the story of Mike Schmidt, a man with a troubled past who takes a job as a nighttime security guard at the now-abandoned Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. At the same time, he needs to keep an eye on his younger sister, Abby, so he brings her along with him.

Soon, he discovers that the animatronics in the pizzeria – Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie, Chica, and Foxy – come to life after midnight, attempting to murder anyone still at the restaurant. It’s now up to them to survive the mechanical onslaught and learn why these creatures are coming to life.

Who Stars in the Movie?

Matthew Lillard and Josh Hutcherson next to a Five Nights at Freddy's Poster
Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ScottGames

The two big names attached to Five Nights at Freddy’s are Josh Hutcherson and Matthew Lillard. Hutcherson is most recognized for playing Peeta Mellark in the Hunger Games film series as well as The Polar Express (2004), Howl’s Moving Castle (2005), Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005), and Bridge to Terabithia (2007). He will be playing Mike Schmidt.

Matthew Lillard is already a horror icon, originating the role of Stu Macher in the original Scream (1996) and playing Shaggy in both Scooby-Doo (2002) and Scooby-Doo 2: Monster Unleashed (2004). He has also starred in beloved films like Hackers (1995), She’s All That (1999), Without a Paddle (2004), and The Descendants (2011). He will be playing Steve Raglan, Mike’s career counselor.

Bonnie, Freddy Fazbear, and Chica all standing onstage in Five Nights at Freddy's
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

The film also stars Elizabeth Lail as Vanessa, Mary Stuart Masterson as Aunt Jane, Kat Conner Sterling as Max the babysitter, and Lucas Grant as Garrett. The movie also features numerous YouTubers and streamers who helped make the original game famous, including CoryxKenshin, 8-Bit Ryan, Baz, Razzbowski, Dawko, and FusionZGamer.

The animatronics are voiced by Kevin Foster (Freddy Fazbear), Jade Kindar-Martin (Bonnie), Jessica Weiss (Chica), and Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Foxy). Everything involved with the band is performed without CGI, and the puppets were created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. That’s right, these characters are now technically Muppets.

Abby Schmidt in a pink sweater around the animatronics in Five Nights at Freddy's
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

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The most intriguing addition is Piper Rubio as Abby Shmidt, Mike’s younger sister, because this character was never featured in the game. Many fans believe she is a substitution for another character in the FNaF lore. However, no one will know this for sure until the film is released.

Is the Movie Appropriate For Children?

Josh Hutcherson looking back at kids in a park
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

Well, that depends. If your child is used to watching scary movies, this may not be too bad for them. The film is rated PG-13 for strong, violent content, bloody images, and language. The movie doesn’t move into R-rated territory, so you know it won’t be too bad, especially if they’ve experienced the games.

That being said, the movie will likely be more graphic than the game, which features mostly jump scares and not actual gore. In the trailer for Five Nights at Freddy’s, you can easily see more blood and death traps than you’d usually see in these games. Also, it looks like the lore and subject matter are more direct and visceral than they are in the game.

Josh Hutcherson as an animatronic is being forced onto his face in Five Nights At Freddy's
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

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In the end, it all comes down to what you, as a parent, feel comfortable with your child seeing. If they can handle movies like Happy Death Day (2017), M3GAN (2022), or any of Blumhouse’s other PG-13 horror movies, they can probably make it through this one.

That being said, it is likely that we’ll be seeing Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 soon since this movie has already doubled its budget at the box office. This will easily be the biggest Horror hit of 2023, and you won’t want to miss it.

Are you excited about the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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