‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ Movie Straying Away From Video Game

in Movies, Video Games

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

Credit: Blumhouse Productions

Despite claiming that the film is a “love letter to fans,” Five Nights at Freddy’s (2023) is making some significant deviations from its source material. Here’s why that’s a good thing.

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

Related: The Internet Reacts to ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ Official Trailer

Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNaF) is one of the most iconic horror video game franchises of all time. Created by Scott Cawthon in 2014, the simple gameplay, terrifying animatronics, and surprisingly deep lore have made the FNaF series some of the most popular indie video games of all time, inspiring a total of 16 different games.

The video game’s success also inspired numerous other pieces of merchandise, including books, graphic novels, and toys. And at the end of October, fans will finally get a Five Nights at Freddy’s movie.

Based on the events of the first game, the film stars Josh Hutcherson as Mike Schmidt, Elizabeth Lail as Vanessa Shelly, Piper Rubio as Abby Schmidt, Matthew Lillard as William Afton, Kat Conner Sterling as Maxine, Mary Stuart Masterson as Aunt Jane, and Lucas Grant as Garret Schmidt. The animatronics were created by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

Naturally, fans were ecstatic to hear that the film is a “love letter to the franchise.” However, they may have been a bit miffed when they learned of all the changes being made to the film.

‘Five Nights At Freddy’s’ Movie Adds Ghost Children, Mike’s Younger Sister

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

The plot of the very first Five Nights at Freddy’s game was straightforward: you are a night guard who uses the security cameras at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza to keep track of the murderous animatronics so they don’t kill you. However, as more games were made and books were released, the lore continued to get deeper and deeper.

Potential Spoiler Alert for people who don’t want to know the whole backstory of the film.

If you pay attention to the trailer, Mike Schmidt thanks Maxine for warning him about the “ghost children.” This refers to the Missing Children, or the MCI (Missing Children Incident) Victims, who each possessed the animatronics at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza in order to get revenge on the man who kidnapped and killed them.

A kid in a brown shirt with a hook hand in Five Nights At Freddy's
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

These children are also seen briefly in the trailer, including Fritz, a boy in a brown long-sleeve shirt with a fake hook similar to Foxy, one of the animatronics. This marks a massive shift from the original game since the beloved lore was almost nonexistent at that point.

All of this is meant to coordinate with another new character introduced into the FNaF universe: Abby Schmidt, Mike’s little sister. In an interview with Screen Rant, director Emma Tammi said, “Well, I think one of the things that we wanted to do with the movie is bring… the character of Abby into the forefront and really being able to see the pizzeria and the world of Freddy’s through her eyes, which is completely filled with childhood wonderment before things get really scary for her.”

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

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This may seem like a massive departure from the source material, which simply started as “guy doesn’t want to get murdered by Chuck E. Cheese.” However, these changes aren’t just a good thing for the film and the potential series that could follow; they’re essential to make a good film.

Why These Changes Are Good and Necessary

Chica holding Mr. Cupcake in Five Nights at Freddy's
Credit: Blumhouse Productions

As a fan, it’s really easy to be upset when a movie based on a video game strays too far from the source material. Just look at Super Mario Bros. (1993) compared to The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023). However, it can be just as dangerous when things don’t change enough, like with Warcraft (2016). There needs to be a happy medium where fans can enjoy the product, and newcomers can be eased in. That’s where the “ghost children” and Abby come in.

While Abby may bring childlike wonder, Mike is still the protagonist. “… He’s dealing with past trauma and the abduction of his brother that happened years ago,” said Emma Tammi. “So there was an opportunity to bring the ghost kids from the lore into the fold in his dreamscape, that, I think, was a really cool additional element breathing new life into the film adaptation.”

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

Sure, these additions seem unnecessary for the core concept of the film, but they add that extra layer that makes the entire FNaF franchise so satisfying. “The DNA of the game is so important in that adaptation,” Tammi continued. “So we knew we needed to land the scares and really recreate the atmosphere that FNaF so effectively creates in the game, which is this creepy factor that is really rich and always unsettling.”

“But it’s hard to watch a full feature-length film without real characters to hang your hat on and fully dimensional people with arcs. So we knew that was equally important to achieve as well. So we’re really hoping to deal with Mike and Abby.”

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

Related: ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’ Already a Box Office Smash

Despite these significant departures from the original game, the team behind Five Nights at Freddy’s seems to have nothing but the best intentions. Not only are they introducing the series to an even wider audience, but the creator has been heavily involved, and it has been reported that there is no CGI. Every animatronic you’ve seen has been real.

It can be very easy to get mad when something you love has been changed, especially when it is from your childhood. However, every change in Five Nights at Freddy’s only happens because it is going to make the overall product better and tie it even closer to the themes of its source material. And who doesn’t want that?

Do you think the addition of the ghost children is a good call for Five Nights at Freddy’s? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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