The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School

The Wolfpack

The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School

The Wolfpack

The student newspaper and broadcast of Cedar Park High School

The Wolfpack

Senior executive editor Natalie Murray, senior associate editor Lily Cooper and junior designer Ava Eaton all sit in conversation with recent clients. After the completion of the Parks and Trails Foundation logo, representatives visited the T-Wolf Agency to provide thanks for all the work done. “I know how beneficial it is to be able to work with clients,” Murray said. “We had a previous executive editor come back and tell us how good of an opportunity it is to have this agency here especially if you want to go into graphic design after high school. The people she’s in classes with didn’t have any access to the things we do here and theres only one other LISD school that has a class like this. It’s just a really good opportunity to get real world experience especially when we get to work with people outside the school. It’s just so real to get that experience with actual clientele and how things really work in the industry.”
Photo by Paige Hert
Sketch to Screen
Jane Yermakov, Reporter • February 23, 2024

Walking through the halls, climbing...

Posing with the gold ball trophy, the varsity girls basketball team takes a team photo after beating Liberty Hill 42-37 in round three of the playoffs. The team will face Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial High School on Friday at 5:30 p.m in San Antonio. “I’m feeling so excited [to move on in the playoffs],” senior guard Avery Allmer said. “I feel like this is a big moral boost because we’ve lost a lot of close games and I feel like this is just a really big win for us.” Photo by Alyssa Fox
Third Time's a Charm
Alyssa Fox, Reporter • February 21, 2024

The varsity girls basketball team...

Carefully balancing one piece of paper over another, junior Ryder Wilkinson builds a paper tower with his team at the Architecture Club’s second meeting. Ryder said he was interested in architecture in the past, but the Architecture Club allowed him to get back into it and learn new things. “I [won] one of the competitions, the first one that we had,” Wilkinson said. “[In the second competition] we lost [because] we could not build a tall enough tower that could withstand the blow of a powerful fan, [but] I still had fun because I was with my friends.”
Building A Legacy
Kaydence Wilkinson, Reporter • February 21, 2024

After hours of sketching, days...

A few of my favorite movies of this month are shown in this image. I had to limit myself to only two Andy Samberg movies, otherwise the graphic looks more like a memorial.
Movie a Day: January
Mia Morneault, Reporter • February 20, 2024

I know, another movie review article...

Echo is a short TV series about a deaf Native American assassin who tasks herself to discover the secret behind her extraordinary ancestral gifts, while trying to fall her uncle’s empire in the process. Graphic by Cason Johnson
Sight of Sound
Cason Johnson, Reporter • February 16, 2024

I was lazily scrolling through...

Pictured above is the crafting club social media page that junior Makena Filippoff and sophomore James Morris-Hodges created. The crafting club was created to allow students to have an opportunity to learn how to create different kinds of crafts and to collaborate with other students interested in crafting. “I love to do crafts but I find myself feeling lonely when doing crafts,” Filippoff said. “With no one to share my ideas or experiences with, it can get boring. I wanted to get a group of people that have an interest in learning [and] doing crafts to be able to have fun and socialize while crafting.”
Photo used with permission from Makena Filippoff
Sewing and Social Hour
Julia Seiden, Reporter • February 16, 2024

The sound of scissors snipping,...

Cason’s Fanatical FNAF Movie Review

Breakdown of the Five Nights at Freddy’s Movie
The+original+gang+goes+down+in+cinema+history%2C+left+to+terrify+their+beloved+audience+for+all+eternity...+
The original gang goes down in cinema history, left to terrify their beloved audience for all eternity…

If you haven’t had the privilege to see this love letter of a movie on the big screen, then you are truly missing out. The 2014 last-ditch indie horror game turned cinematic phenomenon, almost a decade later, is incredible to think about. I watched the Five Nights at Freddy’s, or FNAF, movie on the 29th of October, and I will be breaking down every small detail for the fans of this franchise. Short disclaimer: this review will be more of an analysis regarding some elements of the movie that might be easy to miss, rather than a complete summary of the movie itself. If you couldn’t tell already, yes, major spoilers incoming. With all that said and covered, let’s start breaking this film down from start to finish.

The movie opens with a panicked security guard, played by Ryan Reinike, being hunted down by Freddy and the rest of the gang. The guard attempts to escape through a vent which leads him to a long, winding hallway. The viewer is then put into the perspective of one of the gang members, the fox animatronic A.K.A. “Foxy,” who you can hear humming the same tune he does in the original video game series (which is a nice touch). The guard is then chased down and locked into a chair, while a mask with spinning razor blades descends closer towards his face for an offscreen demise. The death mask itself was an entirely original concept that wasn’t present in any of the mainline games, but possibly ties into the book series. The security guard at the beginning was originally supposed to be played by famous YouTuber “Markiplier,” who played a big role in the popularization of the original Five Nights at Freddy’s games. Unfortunately, he had to turn down the role as he was already in the process of producing his own film at the time.In the background of this first scene there are a plethora of small easter eggs for fans of the franchise. In the back of the hallway just outside the office door where the guard was previously, there’s a bulletin board with photos of the employees that previously worked at Freddy’s before it shut down. While hard to make out in the film itself, the employees on the board are actually pictures of a handful of content creators that popularized the franchise, which is a wholesome touch.

Further down the road our main character, Mike Schmidt played by Josh Hutcherson, applies for a job at Freddy’s. His employer, played by Matthew Lillard, explains to him that while the pay isn’t good, the hours are even worse, which is a direct reference to the outrageously low paycheck received after completing the first game in the video game series. In case you were wondering, Mike made $4 an hour.

Mike sleeps on the job for his first couple of nights working at Freddy’s and runs into a group of five children in his dream. Mike chases after one in particular that bears a remarkable resemblance to Foxy. After Mike gets too close to him, the child slashes Mike with a hook before screaming and crying black tears; this is another reference to the dead children in the video games who also had black tears running down their faces.

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At this time in the movie, there are only four visible animatronics in the pizzeria, while there are five children in Mike’s dream. Suggesting that there is a fifth animatronic somewhere in the building, this is a throwback to a secret character that would rarely make an appearance in the first FNAF video game.

Shortly after, a police officer, played by Elizabeth Lail, shows up to talk to Mike about his position, to supposedly check in on the new employee at Freddy’s. The officer goes by Vanessa, a name associated with one of the antagonists of the later FNAF games.

Quick Numbers

Release Date: October 27, 2023

Runtime: 1 hour 49 minutes

Estimated Budget: $20,000,000 (IMDB)

Global Gross as of November 2023: $283,160,280 (IMDB)

Rotten Tomatoes: 30% (Rotten Tomatoes)

Important People

Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Lail

After landing the role of Peeta Mellark in 2011 for the Hunger Games trilogy, Josh Hutcherson did not make another popular on-screen appearance for nearly a quarter of a decade. The 2023 FNAF movie has been so well-received by audiences to the point where any ideas that Hutcherson's career would die out are now null. Since the release of the movie, Hutcherson has been the center of much media attention, especially with the TikTok trends and memes he is a part of. Hutcherson already has another role in a 2024 thriller film called The Beekeeper, and I expect he'll continue to make cinematic masterpieces.

Rotten Tomatoes V.S. Audience Score

On FNAF's page on the Rotten Tomatoes website, it's hard not to notice how different the Rotten Tomatoes score is from the Audience Score. With the Tomatometer reading 30%, the Audience Score sits at an impressive 87%. The reviews from critics claim the movie to be "decidedly unscary" and "about as good as a cardboard pizza" (Matt Pais, Rotten Tomatoes). However, some critics who leave negative reviews acknowledge that the film seems to be much more enjoyable for fans of the FNAF merchandise, with one critic going as far to say the movie was "made overtly for only the fans," adding that "newcomers will be totally lost, but its target audience should have fun" (Sean Chandler, Rotten Tomatoes). Audience reviews support this theory, as many of the audience's score comes from reviews that claim the film "perfectly captures a mixture of lore between both the books and the games," which is one of the reasons I enjoyed the film so much (Melantha J, Rotten Tomatoes).

Animation

Something most critics and viewers can agree on is the realism of the animatronics in the movie. The animation and special effects these characters display is impressive, and slightly unexpected. I didn't think the quality of animation would be as high as it was in this film. Several reviews I found congratulated the movie on its special effects in particular, which I agree with full-heartedly.

Whistle Edit

It's taken over TikTok...

It's all over Twitter...

And it's in every Instagram reel and post...

I had to.

Enjoy.

Before Mike’s third night at Freddy’s, we’re introduced to a small group that is being paid to sabotage Mike’s job. They meet at a diner named “Sparky’s,” another reference to a fan-made hoax of a secret character within the first Five Nights at Freddy’s game. The group’s waiter happens to be another internet content creator that goes by “MatPat,” most known for trying to piece together the elaborate story of the franchise for years on end. His nametag in the movie reads “Ness,” a design choice made by Scott Cawthon, the creator of Five Nights at Freddy’s. The name “Ness” is a throwback to one of MatPat’s most controversial videos on YouTube, which was a beautifully crafted joke to put in the movie.

This group of sabotagers breaks into Freddy’s during the day and wrecks the place, before meeting their demise at the hands of the animatronics. One of the vigilantes ends up being bitten in half, inspired by one of the endings in Five Nights at Freddy’s 4. A small and overlooked easter egg in this part of the movie is the design on one of the group member’s shirts, which depicts an image of an arcade game that can be recognized from the Five Nights at Freddy’s minigame “Midnight Motorist.”

By the time the fourth night rolls around, Mike and Vanessa explore further into the pizzeria and find an older animatronic costume that can double as a wearable suit. The suit bears a striking resemblance to two characters that have previously been seen before the release of this movie. The first, originating from the fifth video game, is known as “Baby,” and the second, being from the book series, looks like a character named “Ella,” although neither of these theories are confirmed. The suit’s exoskeleton can open up to allow a person to wear the suit, but the locks that keep the suit open are janky and can violently close up (foreshadowing).

On the fifth night the animatronics turn on Mike, who barely manages to escape before stumbling into the remains of the vigilantes from earlier. Among them is an unnamed dog-like animatronic who is remarkably similar to the mentioned fan-made animatronic “Sparky.”.

Mike’s younger sister Abby, played by Piper Rubio, is visited in her home by the fifth child in the form of an older Freddy animatronic, A.K.A. the secret character from the first game. Abby hitches a ride in a cab driven by another famous internet persona, “Coryxkenshin,” the third and final content creator with their own lines and role in this movie. After arriving at the pizzeria, the fifth child vanishes into thin air, suggesting that they were more similar to a spirit than a robot like the other four children.

After Mike catches up with Vanessa, who explains to him that the robots are possessed by dead children that were murdered by the owner of the company, who is also her father. They return back to the pizzeria to face down the animatronics and Vanessa’s father, William Afton. Afton is the name of the main antagonist in the mainline game series and the murderer of the five children, as well as the creator of the Freddy’s franchise.. Afton wears an old yellow rabbit animatronic suit, the same one used to slaughter the children.

Eventually, the animatronics turn on Afton after realizing that he’s their killer, and they attack. The attack causes the suit to malfunction and the locks start to close up on him. The suit clamps down on Afton’s stomach, causing him to fall to his knees, slowly bleeding out. This is the exact same way Afton dies in the third game, with his rabbit costume crushing him from all over his body. Before he accepts his defeat, he dawns the costume’s rabbit headpiece before saying: “I always come back,” the most famous line from this antagonist in the mainline game series, as Afton never seems to truly die. 

Mike, Vanessa, and Abby escape the now-collapsing pizzeria, leaving Afton to his victims as they drag his spasming body away. The ending scene shows Afton being locked away inside a storage room while still hanging on to what little life he has left. This is a throwback to the third game, where Afton is found years later to still be alive.

As the credits roll, one of the first ever fanmade songs from the first game plays. Which goes to show how much appreciation Cawthon had for his fans.

Overall, the Five Nights at Freddy’s movie was an absolute spectacle to see, even for those unfamiliar with the game’s original narrative. The amount of heart and dedication to the production of this film was so heartwarming to watch unfold. The amount of easter eggs from fanmade sources and content creators that helped popularize the game’s franchise was everything a fan could dream of seeing on the big screen. It’s hard to believe that a small indie horror game made by a struggling game developer ended up being one the highest earning video game movies in history with an opening night box office total of $80,001,720 domestically for a $20 million film, you can find the current total at Box Office Mojo. This movie holds a special place in my heart as it does for a majority of others.

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About the Contributor
Cason Johnson, Reporter
Cason is a senior and first year reporter for the Wolfpack Newspaper. He is also heavily involved in CPHS’s award winning Broadcast Journalism program, the Wolfcast, as a fourth year reporter and Executive Producer. He enjoys interviewing others and discovering their stories and passions. He wants to pursue journalism through attending UT. He’s a sucker for the seaside and strawberry daiquiris on a hot summer day. He’s also into making music with his band on weekends and is overall a laid back and approachable person. 

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