Plenty of big-budget video games are getting the big-budget movie treatment right now, from Warcraft to Assassin’s Creed. Earlier this year, however, a much smaller video game title grabbed the attention of producers Roy Lee (Poltergeist), Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and David Katzenberg (The Goldbergs), who announced plans to produce a movie adaptation of Scott Cawthon’s indie horror game Five Nights at Freddy’s.
Set in a Chuck E. Cheese style family restaurant, Five Nights at Freddy’s puts players in the role of a low-paid security guard with the ostensibly simple job of sitting in a booth and keeping on eye on the security cameras. There’s one catch: the restaurant’s animatronic animals move around at night, and if they catch sight of a human they will serve up the grisly death of being stuffed inside a mechanical costume.
According to Deadline, the film’s producers haven’t wasted any time getting this project off the ground. Gil Kenan, director of the Poltergeist remake that Lee produced, has now been tapped to direct Five Nights at Freddy’s for Warner Bros. Kenan will also co-write the script with video game writer Tyler Burton Smith (Prototype 2).
Based on the choice of director and the fact that the scare factor of Five Nights at Freddy’s is based around constant implied threat and occasional jump scares, rather than actual gore, it seems likely that Warner Bros. is planning another PG-13 horror movie along the same lines as Poltergeist. Kenan’s first feature was animated family film Monster House, which he followed up with fantasy adventure City of Ember. Adapting Five Nights at Freddy’s as an R-rated gorefest would be a dramatic change of pace for the director, especially since the source material doesn’t really demand it.
When the project was first announced, Grahame-Smith said that the plan was to work alongside Cawthon in creating an “insane, terrifying and weirdly adorable movie.” Since Five Nights at Freddy’s debuted on PC in August 2014, Cawthon has already released three sequels – an impressive feat considering the fact that even simple games tend to have a development cycle of at least a year.
Five Nights at Freddy’s has already succeeded as a video game franchise, in part due to the reaction videos that popped up all over Youtube and effectively acted as free advertising, but it remains to be seen whether that appeal will survive a transition to the big screen.
We’ll bring you more news on Five Nights at Freddy’s as development continues.