In evaluating movie’s value, Five Nights at Freddy’s fans form their own conclusions

Art as a general medium—whether that be music, movies, paintings or literature—has always been subject to criticism. Either pointing out flaws or stating their own opinions on things, critics have always seemed to have a polarizing take, but should average consumers care about what critics think? Critics have always had clashing opinions with average consumers of media, and a good example of this would be the website Rotten Tomatoes and its critic score versus its user score. Sometimes critics will love movies, but the average viewer hates it, or vice versa.

Some good examples of polarizing movies would be Don’t Look Up (2021), with a critic score of 55 percent and an audience score of 78 percent. Another good recent example would be the Five Nights at Freddy’s (2023). Based on the 2014 indie horror game by Scott Cawthon, the movie has a critic score of 26 percent and an audience score of 88 percent. Using Five Nights at Freddys as an example, many critics seemed to not like it because It wasn’t scary and didn’t appeal to their tastes in terms of storytelling and its tone. Meanwhile audiences with a history of the franchise loved it, enjoying the nods to the fans and all the little story details that relate back to the games.

In a situation like Five Nights at Freddys, how should it be judged? Should critics familiarize themselves with the larger background that the series has? Or should the audience take off their rose-tinted glasses and see possible flaws within the movie? 

It seems to boil down to knowing the history and the fans. The series itself has a very long and sometimes confusing plot, so it’s not easy for new people to jump in and understand the background of nine different games, and with multiple retcons and story changes, it can be hard to keep up with what is canonical. 

When it comes to the movies rating and how it relates to the fans, the fans of this series are relatively young, and most who grew up as the games were released are still in high school, so it shouldn’t be surprising that to get the most people in seats, the movie has to be PG-13. If it was rated R, over half of the fans wouldn’t be able to go out and see it themselves. The movie’s rating has caused an issue with critics, saying that the movie’s overall premise would have been better if it was allowed to be a rated R film, but that undermines the fact that, as previously stated, if the movie had an R rating, most longtime fans wouldn’t be old enough to view it legally. Here are some students’ thoughts who have seen the movie.

Carter Johnson – “I don’t think the movie should’ve been R rated because the fanbase is much younger, and people who wanted an R rating wanted more of horror that the original games had and not what the series became. I think that a lot of people who wanted the movie to be scary are valid, but people who grew up with it were used to the scares or just never grew up with it hear it’s based off a horror game and expect it to be scary.”

Jojo Graves – “I loved the movie so much. I loved how they showed the kids being kids with the goofy scenes; it made me very happy. I loved the suits as well, how it wasn’t just CGI. It was awesome. I would recommend it, but it is not a good horror movie. It’s more of a thriller comedy. If you don’t understand the lore, you might be a little confused.”

Dallas Hoeppner – “I thought the movie was OK. For a movie that was in the works for eight years, the acting definitely feels like it. Otherwise, it was alright.”

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