Five Nights at Freddy’s is the latest video game adaptation of the supernatural horror genre that sets out to present an added story to the otherwise linear video games of the franchise by the same name. The film’s plot has protagonist Mike Schmidt reluctantly take on a new job at the rundown Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, where he is supposed to keep an eye out for any intruders. There is also an added familial bond to Mike, while he also seeks out an older, lost bond as well. Overall, Five Nights at Freddy’s turns out to be disappointingly shallow, with neither the story nor the execution worth watching for.
Plot Summary: What is The Film about?
Five Nights at Freddy’s begins with a scene right from the very place in discussion—Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, a rundown and abandoned family restaurant. A security guard is seen in a frantic state as he rushes to open up the air vents inside his guard room to then use them to creep to another room. There is clearly something chasing the man, and in his effort to escape the nightmarish situation, the guard tries to run out of the pizzeria. However, some metallic creature catches up to him and takes him captive. The guard wakes up inside a dark room, where he is faced with an even scarier situation as he is fixed to a chair. As the chair holds him in place, an animatronic mask with spinning blades inside rushes toward his face. The security guard, like many others who had worked the same job earlier, loses his life at the haunted pizzeria.
Mike Schmidt, the protagonist of the film, is introduced next as he leaves for his work as a mall security officer. But things go extremely wrong for Mike at work, as he mistakes a father tugging his son away for a child kidnapper. Without asking any questions whatsoever, Mike chases the man down and beats him up heavily, without even realizing that he is not a kidnapper but the child’s father. This obviously leads to him getting fired from the job, and Mike has to get help from a career counselor to find a new job. The counselor is not able to be of much help either, since the only job suitable for Mike is that of a night security guard at a rundown pizzeria. Mike is not fond of either the meager pay or the shift timing since he is the only guardian of his young, reclusive sister, Abby.
The exact difficulty of Mike’s situation is revealed when he is called to a meeting with a social services officer. The man’s aunt Jane wants to take custody of Abby, apparently only for the monthly compensation that the orphan kid would get from social services, and Mike has been fighting hard to keep his sister by his side. Convinced that he needs to have a job at the very least, Mike decides to take the job at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria.
Why does Mike’s past haunt him?
As Mike starts work at Freddy’s Pizza, he does not find anything necessarily spooky or unusual at the place. Instead, the man remains engrossed in one particular event from his past, which still haunts him more than any present horrors can. When Mike was a young boy, he had gone for a picnic along with his parents and younger brother Garrett to the woods in his hometown. While Garrett was left on his watch, the young boy was kidnapped by someone, and he was never found after that. Mike still blames himself for this kidnapping and the possible murder of Garrett, for he feels that he should have been more responsible and careful at the time. Therefore, the protagonist still struggles to look for his brother, and in recent times, he has also been trying out a dream theory method. According to a book that the man has been reading, one can access a particular dream over and over again to find out more about any particular incident. In the case of Mike, he is haunted by a particular nightmare in which he is taken back to the very moment when he had gone for the picnic and Garrett had been kidnapped. Therefore, he now wants to revisit the very same dream every night in order to find more clues about who took his brother away.
On the very first night at the pizzeria, Mike seems to realize that nobody actually tries to come into the place, and so he falls asleep inside the security office assigned to him. This room has a number of screens that all relay real-time videos from the many security cameras inside and outside the abandoned restaurant. Along with these, a panel with controls for every piece of electronic equipment in the restaurant is also present inside the room, making it the ideal control center. In fact, in the Five Nights at Freddy’s video games, the player is given control of this very room and has to use various electronic equipment to survive one night after another. Unfortunately, the Five Nights at Freddy’s cinematic adaptation does not make much use of these screens and security cameras, which had made the game unique.
Once Mike is settled on falling asleep inside the security room, he brings in particular objects that help him go back to the same dream. This includes his sleeping pills and a poster of Nebraska tourism, all of which make him remember the incident better. As soon as he falls asleep, Mike is surely taken back to the same moment and incident, and from now on, he starts to see five children at the place. These children gradually start to interact with him as well, and the introduction of a new character reveals who these children are. A police officer named Vanessa Shelly starts to arrive at the pizzeria, and she gets acquainted with Mike. Vanessa states that the place falls on her route at night, and so she starts to check in on the protagonist whenever she can.
It is through Vanessa that more about Freddy Fuzzbear’s Pizzeria is revealed, as she has seen the restaurant since her very childhood. The owner and founder of the place had a great interest in robotics, out of which he had made four animatronic mascots for his restaurant. These mascots—Freddy Fuzzbear, a bear; Bonnie, a rabbit; Chica, a chicken; and Foxy, a fox—still exist in a dilapidated state inside the restaurant, and they still turn on as they were supposed to whenever the electricity is switched on. The pizzeria was a place of great attraction and interest, and it was very popular, too, until a number of children went missing from the town in the 1980s, following which the restaurant was shut down as well. It is also Vanessa who shows Mike the strangest thing about the pizzeria later on, for the four animatronic mascots actually come alive after midnight, as if haunted by some spirits.
Mike’s plotting aunt Jane had secretly appointed Max, the babysitter that Mike used to hire for her sister, and the woman’s brother Carl. Jane wanted to find some evidence against Mike that could be used to build her case with child protection services, but nothing like this existed since he was a very caring brother. Thus, Carl and Max now come up with a plan to break into the pizzeria, which would get Mike fired from the job, and that would ensure that Abby would be handed over to the aunt. However, when Max, Carl, and their group enter the place to loot and plunder, they are taken down one after another by the mascots.
Who was the real kidnapper and murderer?
Although the mascots attack and kill the intruders, they do not have the same reaction when Abby runs around the pizzeria one night and comes across them. Instead, the four mascots are very welcoming and playful towards the young girl, almost as if there is some prior connection that she shares with them. This also seems like a possibility because Abby keeps drawing pictures in which four different colored figures are present, along with a fifth bigger one, and she had been drawing these even before going to the pizzeria. However, this matter is not dealt with in Five Nights at Freddy’s and is perhaps to be considered as any usual colorful picture that children usually draw. But the fact that Abby is welcomed by the mascots and not attacked by them is very directly linked to their own origin.
Each of the four mascots is actually a child who was kidnapped in the 1980s, and inside the animatronic figures are the actual physical bodies of the children. In the ‘80s, a man named William Afton kidnapped the children and kept them hostage at the pizzeria. After killing the kids, the man had hidden their bodies inside the animatronic mascots, and since nobody thought to search these figures, their bodies were never found. William Afton was also the same man who had kidnapped Mike’s brother Garrett, but the boy was murdered and not made into a mascot. As it happens, William Afton is the same man who is the career counselor to Mike, and it becomes clear that the man was still using his profession as a career counselor to employ desperate men to guard the restaurant. Afton perhaps fears that the police or someone else might stumble upon the secrets at the pizzeria, and so he wants to avoid such a scenario. However, since the animatronic mascots are haunted by the souls of the dead children as well, the guards get killed or are spooked away from the job.
However, in the case of Max, the presence of his younger sister saves him from a similar predicament, at least for the time being. The four children trapped inside the four mascots now want to be friends with Abby, meaning that they want to turn her into an animatronic like themselves. During one of his dreams, the children approach Max with this demand, offering more information about Garrett’s kidnappers in exchange. Completely engrossed by the idea of finding his lost brother, Max momentarily agrees to this deal, too, but then immediately realizes that he needs to move on from the past and protect his only living sibling at present, Abby.
Did Max save Abby in the end?
As Max agrees to the deal with the dead children, one of the animatronic mascots leaves the pizzeria and sneaks into his house. Abby had been finally left alone with their aunt Jane, and now the mascot kills the woman in order to take the young girl away. Abby is brought back to the pizzeria, where the animatronic mascots now prepare to trap her inside a bodysuit. During this time, Max had been injured by one of the animatronics and had been rescued by Vanessa before he was killed. The police officer tends to his injuries and then tells him how to defeat the creatures at the restaurant. Vanessa also reveals at this point that William Afton is actually her biological father, and despite knowing about the trap set at the restaurant, she could never speak out to anyone out of fear. But now, when the safety of young Abby is on the line, Vanessa decides to step up and tell Max about her father.
Max hurries to the restaurant, where a fifth animatronic character, a yellow rabbit, also appears. This character is indeed William Afton himself, for he has come to this place to protect his secret by killing Max and Abby. Despite refusing to come to the place earlier, Vanessa now reaches the place to help her friends. Abby’s drawings had some almost magical characteristics, as she was able to communicate with the four mascots using her drawings. Thus, Max now tells Abby to draw a picture revealing Yellow Rabbit as the kidnapper and murderer that he really was. As the girl manages to finish the picture, the four mascots turn vengeful against Yellow Rabbit and attack him. The bodysuit gets damaged, triggering a springlock system that immediately tears into Afton’s body and kills him.
During Five Nights at Freddy’s ending, Max is finally able to save his younger sister, after which Abby becomes very social and starts to attend school. Vanessa had been severely injured during the final fight, and she is currently admitted at a hospital in a comatose state. Afton’s body was last seen being dragged away by the four vengeful mascots, and he is already dead in all probability. Five Nights at Freddy’s also features a short mid-credits scene in which a cab driver from earlier is spooked by a Balloon Boy figure inside his car. The cab driver is actually Coryx Kenshin, one of the most popular YouTube gamers to have heavily featured the game on his channel. The Balloon Boy figure is also a character from the game, and it might be a possible tease for a sequel to come, in which we might see more of Vanessa and Afton, along with Mike and Abby.