“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is the inaugural full-length cinematic adaptation of the immensely popular point-and-click horror gaming franchise, currently screening in theaters and available for streaming on Peacock.
The film closely follows the narrative of the original game, though it introduces unique elements, particularly in the character of Mike Schmidt (played by Josh Hutcherson). Unlike the game, the movie delves into Mike’s backstory and the trauma he carries, which is intricately woven into the broader plot.
Given the limited information available about Mike as a playable character in the game, fans might be eager to uncover more about his story as depicted in the “Five Nights at Freddy’s” movie.
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As we are introduced to the film’s protagonist, Mike Schmidt, it becomes immediately apparent that he carries a weighty burden. His dismissal from a security position at a local mall, stemming from a misguided belief that he was rescuing a kidnapped child, paints a portrait of a troubled man. It turns out, it was a misunderstanding – a father sternly reprimanding his own child.
The pieces start falling into place when we learn of Mike’s younger brother Garrett (portrayed by Lucas Grant) who vanished during their childhood. While on a camping trip, Mike and his parents momentarily lost track, and Garrett was taken by an unidentified assailant.
Haunted by recurrent nightmares of the incident, in which he vividly recalls Garrett being driven away in a car, Mike is unable to unearth the truth behind his brother’s disappearance and potential demise.
Regrettably, Mike finds himself entangled in present-day family turmoil. He’s locked in a custody battle with his aunt Jane (played by Mary Stuart Masterson), who contends that Mike is unfit to care for his younger sister, Abby (portrayed by Piper Rubio).
Desperate to regain some semblance of control over his life, Mike embarks on a job hunt to strengthen his case for retaining custody of Abby. This quest leads him to the notorious Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, which requires a night security guard. Despite the meager pay and arduous hours, Mike takes the position.
It doesn’t take long for Mike to stumble upon eerie revelations about the restaurant’s history. Once a beloved family establishment, it met an abrupt closure following the mysterious disappearance of children. Matters take a darker turn when the animatronics appear to assume a life of their own.
Initially, Mike doesn’t dwell too deeply on the job and reports for his initial shift. However, when he falls asleep, he experiences the same dream of Garrett’s vanishing, albeit with a significant alteration. This time, he witnesses five enigmatic children. Driven by a desperate need for answers and perplexed by this change, he attempts to pursue them, only to face a violent assault.
Upon awakening, he realizes he’s also been physically harmed in reality, confirming that something profoundly uncanny is transpiring. Curiously, there’s no one present except for the animatronics. Later, he encounters a police officer named Vanessa (played by Elizabeth Lail), who imparts a warning about Fazbear’s and urges him to stay vigilant.
Meanwhile, Aunt Jane endeavors to sabotage Mike’s job by enlisting Abby’s babysitter, Max (played by Kat Conner Sterling), and her brother to deliberately wreak havoc on the restaurant, with the ultimate aim of getting Mike fired. Tragically, both meet a grim fate at the hands of the animatronics soon after entering.
Following Max’s demise, Mike struggles to secure a replacement babysitter and ultimately brings Abby to work with him, instructing her to rest while he fulfills his duties. Initially, things proceed smoothly, but as Mike succumbs to sleep once more, Abby is enticed into the main area by the animatronics.
Contrary to the expected outcome, instead of harming her, Abby appears to form a bond with them, referring to them as her “friends.” This deeply unsettles Mike, who is wary of her interaction with them. It soon becomes evident that the animatronics wish for Abby to stay with them and “become like them.”
Guided by Vanessa, Mike commences the arduous task of piecing together the truth, discovering that the animatronics are inhabited by the very children who vanished at Freddy’s – the same ones who have been haunting his dreams.
In a moment of desperation, Mike implores them for information about his brother, offering anything in return. Regrettably, they interpret this as a plea to take Abby away from him.
The animatronics grow increasingly hostile, attempting to subdue Mike by forcibly placing him into an animatronic exoskeleton suit, mirroring the grim scene witnessed in the pre-credits sequence, where the previous security guard met a grisly end.
Miraculously, Mike survives the onslaught and awakens in a police outpost with Vanessa, who tends to his wounds. She reveals that she was privy to everything from the outset and discloses that her father once worked at the pizza place as an entertainer, donning a yellow rabbit costume.
Vanessa’s father, William Afton, is unveiled as the perpetrator behind the children’s murders. To conceal his heinous acts, he opted to hide their remains within the animatronics, a place he believed no one would ever investigate.
Subsequently, it comes to light that William Afton had been masquerading as Mike’s career advisor. He orchestrated Mike’s placement at Freddy Fazbear’s, meticulously planning the entire scheme. His culpability extends beyond the children’s deaths at the restaurant; he also played a role in Garrett’s demise.
A climactic struggle ensues, with the animatronics turning on Abby and Vanessa, under the malevolent influence of William. Cloaked in the yellow rabbit costume, William confronts Mike, taunting him. However, Abby devises a plan. To communicate with the animatronics, she crafts a drawing depicting William’s atrocities and convinces them not to heed his commands any longer.
Enraged, they retaliate against Afton, resulting in his brutal demise within the rabbit suit when the spring locks disengage, crushing him to his death. This references the antagonist Springtrap from “Five Nights at Freddy’s 3,” revealed in the game to be William Afton inhabiting the suit.
In the aftermath, Abby acclimates to school life, and Mike gains custody of her. Despite still regarding the animatronics as her “friends,” Abby inquires if she can visit them occasionally, to which Mike contemplates. Meanwhile, the child version of Freddy is depicted witnessing William’s slow demise within the Springtrap costume.
“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is currently accessible in theaters and on Peacock in the United States.