We’re just days away from the big-screen adaptation of Five Nights at Freddy’s, the popular video game that inspired a legion of YouTubers to make videos in which they overreact to scary, funny, or shocking things.
Created by Scott Cawthon in 2014, Freddy’s is a relatively simple concept. Gamers control a security guard tasked with monitoring a rundown Chuck E. Cheese-like establishment filled with deadly robots. Players remain situated inside a security room for an entire evening and must utilize surveillance equipment to survive a series of attacks from said robots. Oh, and your power is limited. Rinse and repeat five times.
Freddy’s was so popular it inspired a slew of sequels, spinoffs, books, and now a major motion picture. Not too shabby for a game born out of failure. Cawthon started his career making Christian-based games and found little success. After critics poked fun at one of his characters for looking like a demented animatronic, Cawthon decided to try his hand at horror and created Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Now, we have an entire universe to study, packed with bizarre characters, an abundance of murder, and a surprisingly hefty amount of tragedy. So, in case you haven’t played the games but are eager to see the movie this weekend, I present a broad overview that should help you figure out what the hell is happening.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
As stated, the original game is relatively straightforward but littered with tiny details that hint at a much larger story. Gamers work inside a local known as Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza and take direction from a mysterious “phone guy” who warns of the strange occurrences inside the restaurant.
Apparently, the animatronics inside the locale, namely Freddy Fazbear, Chica the Chicken, Foxy the Pirate, and Bonnie the Bunny, awaken at night and murder anyone dumb enough to linger in the wee hours. Initially, we are led to believe they mistake people for an endoskeleton — or an animatronic without its skin — and promptly try to fit them inside a suit with deadly results.
However, the lore goes much deeper and darker.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 2
In the sequel, players again assume command of a security post — this time as a man named Jeremy — and take on a group of nasty animatronics across five intense nights. However, a series of 8-bit mini-games sheds more light on the backstory.
Players meet a mysterious Purple Man in these games who murdered a bunch of kids at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza in the 80s. An ongoing police investigation sheds light on an event known as the “Bite of ’87,” in which Freddy (the main animatronic) bit a child’s head. Players also learn that Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 takes place in November of 1987, before the original game’s events. Plot twist!
Five Nights at Freddy’s 3
Jumping some 30 years in the future, Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 reveals that the Purple Man is William Afton, a serial killer who uses his restaurant chain to capture and murder children. He would stuff their bodies inside animatronic suits, a tactic that prevented his arrest. However, the children’s spirits possessed the animatronics and now spend their nights searching for their murderer, often mistaking security guards and other adults for Afton.
Additional mini-games show that the spirits eventually trapped Afton and forced him inside a suit, where the faulty spring trap mechanisms eventually killed him. His corpse lingered inside the suit until it was discovered 30 years later and relocated to a horror-themed attraction known as Fazbear’s Fright.
Springtrap roams the grounds with a whole new slew of baddies and attacks the player, much like in the previous two games. A pair of endings hint that Fazbear’s Fright burned down, and the animatronic’s spirits were set free.
Five Nights at Freddy’s 4
This is where it gets really weird. In the third sequel, we follow a small boy who experiences weird occurrences inside his bedroom. Through a series of mini-games, we learn about an event known as “the party,” where a group of kids lifted the young boy inside Freddy’s mouth. His tears caused Freddy to malfunction, and his mouth clamped down on the boy’s head. His experiences inside his home are meant to reflect the final moments before his death. Clues tease that he’s actually at a hospital, receiving visits from his father and brother, the latter of which was among the boy’s tormentors.
Fans have tossed around some wild ideas about the older brother, naming him Michael Afton, son of William Afton, and connect the events of Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 to the infamous “Bite of ’87,” even though “The Party” is set in 1983. Some gamers even believe Michael might be the same guy as Mike Schmidt from the first game, but Cawthon hasn’t confirmed these theories.
Following the fourth game, Cawthon released Sister Location, Pizzeria Simulator, and Security Breach. Each adds to the lore in a unique way. Still, the only thing you need to know is that Michael Afton teams up with Henry Emily (co-owner of Freddy’s restaurant chain) and burns down Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, essentially killing the soul of William Afton and freeing the spirits of the trapped children. Further adventures see William return via a video game, but the franchise ends in the fire for me.
Many more details exist in the franchise, all worth exploring. The film will likely feature an abundance of Easter Eggs, which are always fun to discover. That said, the gist of the story is that a crazy man launched a restaurant chain and secretly murdered a bunch of children who then possessed some animatronics and sought revenge. Eventually, everyone dies, and that’s it.
Honestly, I’ve done my best to avoid spoilers, so I have no idea what the film is about. A direct adaptation? A sequel? A remake? We’ll find out this weekend, but hopefully, you’re a little more prepared for the film!