- The Five Nights at Freddy’s movie diverges from the first game by focusing more on the franchise’s lore and the evils of humanity, rather than relying solely on jump scares and fear.
- The movie incorporates elements from different resources in the franchise to form its story, expanding beyond the limited material provided in the first game.
- While there are notable differences in character details and the portrayal of the haunted mascots, the movie remains loyal to the overall narrative of the games and books, impressively compressing various installments into a cohesive story.
The Five Nights at Freddy’s cinematic adaptation finally premiered after fans waited nearly a decade. The franchise, created by Scott Cawthon, has seen overwhelming success, spanning a series of 13 games, 15 novels, and 11 graphic novels. Director Emma Tammi and the writers, which included Scott Cawthon, had more than enough resources to pull material from. Having the creator himself on the writing team was a big bonus for this movie, too.
Unlike the first video game in the Five Nights at Freddy’s series, the movie relies less on that visceral feeling of fear that forces the audience to close their eyes at the scariest moments and instead explores the lore that unites all of the games. It pushes the supernatural components of the franchise slightly to the side and focuses more on the evils of mankind and how scary people can be on their own. That’s not the only difference the movie presents, either.
What Happens in the First Five Nights at Freddy’s Video Game?
The first few games in the FNAF series presented basic gameplay with high-quality frights. It successfully combined a foreboding sense of fear, forcing the player to frantically glance between different security cameras and close doors, with the release of their tension at well-timed jump scares. Each installment expanded on that gameplay until newer games offered a more open-world environment like Security Breach. However, the first game was the definition of basic in terms of gameplay.
The player sat in a security office with control of two doors and multiple CCTV cameras to monitor. Exploring wasn’t an option, and the game didn’t expand on the venue’s background except for a few answering machine recordings the player listened to at the start of every shift. There wasn’t much material there for a movie. It wasn’t until the second game, with the introduction of mini-games and the “Purple Man,” did things start to get really interesting. It was essential for the movie to pull information from different resources to form its story.
How is the Movie Different?
The biggest difference from the first Five Nights at Freddy’s game that the movie presents is an ongoing narrative. As mentioned, there’s a story taking place in the background of the game with little hints sprinkled about that give the player an idea of what’s happening and how it came to be. The movie, on the other hand, needed a story to function cinematically. It doesn’t merely give out hints; it lays out the entire background of Freddy Fazbear’s. Sure, it gradually reveals more and more as time goes on, with the climax putting everything together, but that’s no different than most movies.
William Afton never appeared in the first FNAF game. In fact, his real form wasn’t presented in the games at all. The movie not only shows Afton in the flesh (played by Matthew Lillard), it shows the traumatic event of his death that turned him into the dreaded Springtrap animatronic. The Five Nights at Freddy’s film accelerated Springtrap’s introduction as that character didn’t appear in the games until Five Nights at Freddy’s 3. That means whether this movie receives a sequel or not, fans got to see Springtrap in all its glory.
The movie also changes several other character details, such as naming Afton’s daughter Vanessa rather than Elizabeth. This might be a nod to the antagonistic security guard Vanessa in FNAF: Security Breach. Additionally, Michael Schmidt in the series of games turns out to be Michael Afton, the son of William Afton. While this is a twist that’s still possible in a sequel to the movie, it’s unlikely because the audience saw Schmidt’s parents in his flashback dreams to the day his brother went missing.
Mike not being William Afton’s son is a significant change from the video games because the Mike in the FNAF game knew who his dad was and hoped to stop his murderous exploits by gaining access to Freddy Fazbear’s, thus becoming a security guard. Michael Schmidt, in the movie, needs the job to support himself and his younger sister as well as retain custody of her over their less-than-hospitable aunt.
The movie also deviates from the game’s portrayal of the haunted mascots a bit. The game presents them as malevolent, unforgiving forces, while the movie shows a scene where Mike and his sister build a fort with them, undermining a good chunk of fear they’re meant to instill in the audience. The security cameras also play less of a role, which wasn’t surprising, but more prominent use of them would have gone a long way to add tension to the movie.
How are the Five Nights at Freddy’s Game and Movie Similar?
Despite all the differences, the movie stays loyal to the narrative of the games and books. It still follows a young man named Mike who gets a job as a security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. The venue is filled with animatronics possessed by the spirits of murdered children, and they even kill a few unsuspecting visitors at one point. Additionally, William Afton is the cause of the murderous animatronic mascots.
The movie isn’t a complete adaptation of only the first FNAF game. It’s an amalgamation of multiple games and books in the franchise. It does a great job of incorporating narrative details from each installment in the franchise and compressing them into a neatly organized story. With the overwhelming praise from audiences, it’s clear that the director and crew nailed the formula for adapting Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Five Nights at Freddy’s is a first-person survival horror and resource management game from Scott Cawthorn that raced to popularity thanks to its creepy animatronic enemies and its array of panic-inducing jumpscares. Bringing life to a cavalcade of well-known characters like Freddy Fazbear, Chica, Foxy, Bonnie, and more, Five Nights at Freddy’s has seen immense success, spinoffs, and fan games.