Five Nights at Freddy's Director Says PG-13 Rating Was Pushed to the Limit
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According to director Emma Tammi, the new horror movie pushes the boundaries of what's usually seen or expected from PG-13 films. Before the movie was officially rated, many worried as to how it might adapt the video games' material. An R-rating presented the possibility of strong gore and other violent aspects. On the other hand, this might have prevented the franchise's younger fanbase from viewing it. Thus, a PG-13 rating was ultimately far more logical, especially since the games largely lack much in the way of overt gore. Still, Tammi assured that the movie is still visceral and scary, despite the less "adult" rating.
In an interview with Inverse, Tammi stated, "We were trying to push it as far as we could while still retaining that PG-13 rating. That meant the kills needed to be executed in a certain way. And while it is so fun in many slasher films to see all the guts and the gore, it is also really fun to figure out creative ways to show these moments without showing all the details. In some cases, we leaned into shadows and silhouettes and sound design to really feel the moment in an impactful way without showing any gore. So that is something that I had a lot of fun doing, and actually really appreciated that we were taking the PG-13 approach for this because there’s such a younger audience for FNAF, and we didn’t want to exclude them."
Tammi also cited the shadows and lighting in classic horror movie Nosferatu as an inspiration. The emulation of said shading is likely a big part of how the movie maintained its PG-13 rating. This is similar to the black and white release of Marvel Studios' Werewolf by Night Disney+ special, which evoked classic horror for its gore. Conversely, its creepy animatronics are brought to life by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, which has worked on the practical special effects for numerous major movies throughout the decades. Five Nights at Freddy's releases amid a growing trend in popular horror movies. 2023 has seen several horror movies scare up massive box office profits, be they original movies or those based on existing properties. Likewise, Five Nights is also coming out the weekend right before Halloween, creating the best opportunity for spooky success at the box office.
Five Nights at Freddy's Is Based on the Popular Video Game Series
Based on the popular video game franchise of the same name, Five Nights at Freddy's centers around a security guard named Mike Schmidt (played by Josh Hutcherson), whose latest gig is a night job at the abandoned Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. Unfortunately for him and others, the animatronic mascots of the once lively fun center come to life after midnight, issuing out a homicidal form of fun. Released in 2014, the original Five Nights at Freddy's game was created by Scott Cawthon. The success of this title led to the birth of a massive multimedia franchise, largely inspired by how the game's interesting character designs and the online reactions to some of its jump scares. The movie adaptation has been in development since 2015, with work on the finalized Blumhouse Productions version beginning in 2017.
Five Nights at Freddy's releases in theaters and on the Peacock streaming service on October 27, 2023.