Five Nights at Freddys review: This joyless shocker never whirs into life

Five Nights at Freddys review: This joyless shocker never whirs into life

Back in Sir Bobby Charlton’s glory days, there was a TV sitcom about a seedy tailor shop called Never Mind The Quality, Feel The Width. They should dust that phrase off and stick it on a sign outside the picture houses, because there’s an unusually thick roster of spooky films showing this Halloween, and most of them are genuinely shocking.

Like The Exorcist: Believer, The Nun II and Doctor Jekyll, (see right) Five Nights At Freddy’s is considerably less scary than a basin of bobbing apples.

Based on a video-game series (always an ominous sign), it involves a security guard (Josh Hutcherson) being chased around an abandoned restaurant by animatronic critters.

If lockdown desperation led you to Willy’s Wonderland, a straight-to-streaming Nicolas Cage horror, this may sound eerily familiar.

That 2021 film (inspired by the same game) was no classic, but at least it mixed its chills with broad comedy and an enjoyably over-the-top hero.

Hutcherson’s Mike Schmidt is cut from a very different cloth. As a kid he witnessed the abduction of his infant brother.

Now after the death of his parents, his money-grabbing aunt (Mary Stuart Masterson) is trying to win custody of his troubled 10-year-old sister (Piper Rubio). When Mike takes a job as a nightwatchman at an abandoned restaurant, the dreary trauma drama attempts to morph into cheesy horror.

Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza was a big hit in the 1980s, but now rumours persist that its robotic mascots – Freddy the bear, Bonnie the bunny, Chica the chicken and Foxy the fox – are possessed by ghosts of murdered children. So, over five long nights, miserable Mike must fight them off in a series of bloodless action scenes designed to win a PG-13 rating in the US.

The monsters are beautifully designed by the Jim Henson Creature Shop, but this joyless shocker never whirs into life.

Five Nights at Freddy’s, Cert 15, In cinemas now

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