Lasse Galsgaard’s review published on Letterboxd:
So apparently, from what I’ve gathered, there was a version of this film with a script that everybody liked, but that the writer then got rid of because he had a story that he liked better. Now, to be fair - the writer of this film is the original creator of the game, so I understand why they let him do it. But I also think that there is a certain limit to creative freedom, and the limit is when you write a script that’s worse. This is one of the worst scripts I’ve ever seen put on the big screen and just a generally trashy film.
Looking at Scott Cawthon’s previous work as a screenwriter, it’s all pretty crappy, so why he got the chance to write this film for Blumhouse is a wonder. But hey, at least he’s consistent, because he provides a certain level of crappy writing that has seldom been seen in a big franchise film like this. There’s nothing to this story: no interesting characters, no interesting backstories, nothing. It’s all based in the most cliché pieces of writing that has ever been put to screen with such a lack of clear direction that it’s apparent how little he actually knows about screenwriting. There’s no consistency in the stories that he puts together, and there are certain subplots that are just bulging down on the film and killing all momentum its pace had. As cool as I think that it is for Emma Tammi to be helming this film, her direction was definitely lacking some effect. None of the film’s scares were actually scary, and the film’s insane editing style killed any chance it had for actually featuring genuine scares. The film also features some generally enjoyable actors all trying to make sense of what they’re bringing to the screen, but it seems to have taken such a toll on them that they can’t even act properly. Josh Hutcherson - who is very talented - is a shell of himself in this uninspired wreck of a performance, which is only done worse by the apparent lack of commitment from any of his co-stars, including some promising newcomers as well.
“Five Nights at Freddy’s” is one of the year’s most disappointing films and I didn’t even have that many expectations for it going in. The writing is lacking nuance and consistency and tries to do way too much at once, while the lack of cohesive direction can be felt on the film’s scares and performances.