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SYFY WIRE Five Nights at Freddy's

The Biggest Change the Five Nights at Freddy's Movie Made From the Games

The film adaptation of the beloved horror game adds a new dimension to the scares.

By Matthew Jackson
Five Nights At Freddy’s | Official Trailer

Adapting video games to movies is a tricky business, and it's especially tricky when the story of a game is stripped down and straightforward, more about atmosphere and feel than plot. In the case of Five Nights at Freddy's, the first game's story is a framework designed to do one thing: Scare its players to death. That meant adding a few things for the film adaptation, and it looks like game creator Scott Cawthon and the team behind the film have come up with something particularly effective. 

The first full trailer for the movie, released Tuesday morning, shares a lot of the story DNA of the first game in the FNaF series. Josh Hutcherson stars as Mike Schmidt, a guy who takes a job as a night security guard at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, a derelict family entertainment restaurant that the owner isn't ready to give up on just yet. After taking the gig, Mike meets the animatronic animals that gave the restaurant its name, and learns that they come alive at night (in the game, this is explained away as a tactic for keeping their moving parts in working order), adding a layer of creepiness to what was meant to be a benign job.

RELATED: Five Nights at Freddy's Star Opens Up About Film on TikTok

Of course, as Mike later learns, the animatronics aren't just creepy, they're murderous. Freddy and his friends may or may not be possessed by dead children who were murdered in the restaurant years earlier, shutting it down and adding a supernatural level of terror to the crumbling place. So, the basic security job becomes a fight for survival. It's a very effective story, particularly when you play through Mike's eyes in the game, but for the film, there's yet another dimension to the fear.

What's Changed in the Five Nights at Freddy's Movie?

Piper Rubio in Five Night's at Freddy's (2023)

We'd seen glimpses of a little girl in teasers for the film, and now the trailer has revealed that she is none other than Abby Schmidt (Piper Rubio), Mike's daughter, who's supposed to be sleeping through the night at Freddy Fazbear's while her father works. Abby's presence adds something to Mike's journey, as we learn he's not just taking this job for him, but for his little girl. It also means that when things start to go very wrong, he has to fight to protect her. 

In the original game, players learn that there's actually a spare animatronic endoskeleton in among the moving creatures of Freddy Fazbear's, and if Mike is caught, he'll be stuffed inside it and crushed to death. That's the major threat of the game, of course, but the film has revealed that the children possessing the animatronics don't actually want to make Mike's soul into an animatronic monster. They want Abby, so they can have another playmate in their perpetual haunting of this rundown restaurant. That means that if Mike fails, he loses his daughter, and has to watch her transform into something inhuman. 

It's a fascinating, frightening, and wonderful tweak to the original story, and it adds a lot of depth to the horror that's coming for us this fall.

Five Nights at Freddy's hits theaters and Peacock on Oct. 27.