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Jason Blum on Why Five Nights at Freddy's Reminds Him of His Paranormal Activity Days

For Jason Blum, horror has always been about underdogs. 

By Matthew Jackson
Animatronics stand together in Five Night's at Freddy's (2023)

Jason Blum is one of the best-known horror filmmakers in the world, a producer with a reputation for hitmaking and a track record that includes Oscar winners (Get Out) and box office smashes (Paranormal Activity). It's no wonder that he's one of the minds bringing the hit video game Five Nights at Freddy's to the big screen, but for Blum, horror is still a story of underdogs. 

“I love horror movies because people who make horror movies are still ostracized a bit in Hollywood,” Blum told IGN. “Like, we’re thought of as lesser, even though Get Out made them kind of cooler. We're still not the cool kids by a long shot… so that's why I love horror too: I love being the underdog and overcoming something. Who doesn't? It's a lot of fun.”

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That underdog mentality stuck with Blum throughout the six-year development process on Five Nights at Freddy's, during which he worked closely with the game's creator, Scott Cawthon, to come up with the right screen story. Just like the game, the film will follow a security guard (Josh Hutcherson) who takes a new gig at a rundown restaurant populated by killer animatronic animals that come to life at night, while also fleshing out the story's supporting cast and raising the stakes a little by giving the protagonist a family he must protect. 

But just as the game became an under-the-radar hit when it was released in 2014, the film project has been met with a certain degree of skepticism by people along the way. Blum admitted to IGN that he was "made fun of" even by people within his own company, Blumhouse, over trying to get the film just right. Now, though, it's well on its way to being one of the biggest horror films of 2023, and for Blum, that all ties back to the underdog nature of horror cinema. There are even moments in the film itself, he said, that remind him of his roots, particularly the success of the Paranormal Activity franchise.

“The multiple screens in the security office [in Five Nights at Freddys] - I always thought of Paranormal Activity 2,” he said. “That’s when we had the round of different cameras and they share a lot for sure.”

Five Nights at Freddy's arrives Oct. 27 in theaters and streaming on Peacock.