KSL Movie Show review: ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’

Oct 26, 2023, 1:03 PM | Updated: 2:53 pm

KSL Movie Show host Steve Salles reviews the latest effort from Universal Pictures. It's a passing ...

KSL Movie Show host Steve Salles reviews the latest effort from Universal Pictures. It's a passing grade, but just barely.

SALT LAKE CITY — Ever watch a movie and think, “Well that obviously wasn’t meant for me.”

It’s not that I don’t appreciate a well-written, suspense-filled horror film, because I do – mostly. It’s just that this one in particular, “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” is so mind-numbingly dumb, that I couldn’t understand all the “oohs” and “aahs” coming from the largely teenage target audience in attendance.

I won’t go as far as to say “I weep for this next generation of moviegoers,” but this experience left me more than a little vexed.

What’s the deal with Freddy’s?

Set in the 1990s, Mike Schmidt (Josh Hutcherson) has trouble keeping a job, which wouldn’t be such a big deal except he could lose custody of his little sister Abby (Piper Rubio) to cranky aunt Jane (Mary Stuart Masterson).

So he takes a night security gig at an abandoned pizzeria with animatronic bears singing pop songs. We all know what business it’s referring to since we were all legally bound to take our kids there for every annoying birthday party with its accompanying disease-ridden ball pit.

Seems like a pretty easy assignment. Watch the monitors, which by the way, were fairly elaborate given that no customers had been there in years. But hey, they’re trying to make a scary movie, so, a dozen cameras everywhere will be a necessity.

The other thing that’s a little unsettling (actually there are several things) is that Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria has gone through a number of night security guards of late, the last one dispatched rather horrifically. But there’s no investigation or even a question as to what happened to that whiny guy in the opening sequence.

Eventually, we learn that Mike has gone through a traumatic event himself, that may or may not have some ties to a series of unsolved missing children cases in the 80’s. Fortunately, there’s a compassionate beat cop Vanessa (Elizabeth Lail) who routinely checks in on Mike to make sure everything is going okay . . . right up until she says . . . “have you met THEM yet,” (referring to the stuffed robot singers).

Hmmm. What an odd way of putting that.

With THEM in mind, my favorite robot critter was just a head with a candle sticking out of it called “Cupcake.” I’d heard cupcakes were bad for you, but this voracious little beastie took the cake! Groan. Sorry.

A gateway to horror?

So this sounds like it was funny? It wasn’t. Or perhaps super bloody? Nope. The PG-13 took care of that.

Well, how about scary? Not really, unless you count a handful of unearned jump scares. Creepy? Yes, I will say it’s definitely disturbing, once the whole storyline is revealed. But that, too, is not a plus.

The bottom line? Many are suggesting “Five Nights at Freddy’s” is a gateway for teens interested in getting into horror movies. To me, it felt more like an emergency exit as to why many people go out of their way to AVOID horror movies.

“Five Nights at Freddy’s” gets a C-. It’s rated PG-13 for strong violent content, bloody images, and language. The movie stars Josh Hutcherson, Piper Rubio, Elizabeth Lail, and Mary Stuart Masterson. It was co-written and directed by Emma Tammi (“The Wind” “The Left Right Game podcast”) – and filmed in New Orleans. The movie runs 110 minutes.

The KSL Movie Show with Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles airs Fridays on KSL NewsRadio from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook, and join The KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500.

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KSL Movie Show review: ‘Five Nights at Freddy’s’