CherryO’s review published on Letterboxd:
Scott Cawthorn is an egomaniacal idiot with no eye for story hiding behind a faux-edgy child murder theme about as deep as a puddle. It sounds harsh, I know- and auter theory is dead after all! How can we blame one man for a whole film's faults?
Well, besides the fact that the movie was in years of development hell because he refused to give up complete creative control, and that he has no less than 5 (5!!!) Credits, including both writing AND producing, it's because every element he couldn't conceivable have stuck his fingers in is actually passable. The animations are well rendered for 99% of their screentime, the production design is pretty great for 80% of the movie, and at least 50% of the acting is actually good. Everything else is absolutely unbearable.
The script is the worst offender- absolutely braindead- but JEESUSSSS do you feel every single minute of the runtime. Nothing worse than a movie that makes you check your watch, trying to count down to SOME sort of plot point that might actually make things more interesting. Kind of bold for a movie to have a first act that's almost half the runtime. There's approximately one (1) moment in the film that made me jump even a little, and that was the first balloon boy gag. If I was 12 I'd have swapped this out for like Scooby Doo Monster Island within 30 minutes so despite that fact that this is THE most child-oriented horror I have EVER seen, this can't possibly last the mile on the playground these days, right? Like my buddies were watching SAW at the target demo's age.
Like, I could go on- fnaf is an ego project more like a nostalgia critic review than an actual horror film- but that's also the worst part? Because it IS fun- it is SO fun to laugh at, to make faces at, to see and make fun of and laugh with over. I had fun with it! I was making faces at my watch party, and they were making faces at me, and during the riverside scene that has WAY too much coverage we whispered jokes between our seats and I almost lost my absolute SHIT in the theatre! So it feels almost crotchety to talk bad about it. Apart from the DRAG ASS of the runtime, it is a fun ride- just not by design. I'd recommend if you have a rowdy group to go with.
Kind of crazy after all of that that the worst part of the movie is actually Josh Hutchinson's performance