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NBC Insider Five Nights at Freddy's

The Ending of Five Nights at Freddy's Explained

Freddy Fazbear's pizza serves up animatronic mayhem — with a side of justice. 

By Grace Jidoun

Spoiler warning! Spoilers for Five Nights at Freddy's within!

The film adaptation of Five Nights at Freddy’s loosely follows the plot of the favorite horror video game series: five young children mysteriously disappear in 1985, causing Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza to shutter its doors forever. Murdered by pizzeria owner William Afton, the child ghosts inhabit terrifying animatronic mascots: Freddy Fazbear, Foxy, Bonnie, and Chica. But the filmmakers brought in new perspectives: Mike (Josh Hutcherson), a sympathetic, unemployed security guard, and his introverted little sister Abby (Piper Rubio), whom he has sole custody of.

Desperate to make ends meet, Mike consults with a rather unusual career counselor, Steve Raglan (Matthew Lillard), who gets him a security job at the creepy, abandoned pizzeria — but little does Mike know it’s replete with crazed and murderous animatronics. When police officer Vanessa (Elizabeth Lail) swings by before the first shift to calmly warn Mike about worker “turnover,” we anticipate Mike’s impending doom. Perhaps not the best guard, Mike falls asleep constantly on the job and dreams about his younger brother, Garrett (Lucas Grant), who was kidnapped during a family camping trip years earlier. He also connects in his dreams with the ghost children, hinting at the animatronic-fueled mayhem to come.

What happens at the end of the Five Nights at Freddy's movie?

Thankfully Mike never meets his doom, though he comes close. The film’s most spectacular and nail-biting moments come at the end. After his babysitter Max (Kat Conner Sterling) is, unbeknownst to him, murdered by the animatronics in the restaurant, Mike starts bring Abby in to camp out at the pizzeria, and she connects to the animatronic critters and considers them her new friends. But they want Abby as a forever member of their demented group, and they taunt Mike that they’ll reveal the truth about his brother’s disappearance in exchange for her. When Vanessa finds out Abby is bonding with the mascots, she warns Mike that if he ever brings Abby back to Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, she’ll shoot him, confirming our suspicions that she knows more than she’s letting on.

RELATED: Who's Who in the Five Nights at Freddy's Movie Cast?

Vanessa Shelly (Elizabeth Lali) and Mike (Josh Hutcherson) face off during a scene

In the fast-paced ending, Mike becomes a victim to their animatronic rage when he finally lets go of living in the past and realizes that he needs to save his very much alive sibling from her ghoulish fate. They don't take to his sudden savior complex well and make him pay. He wakes up to Vanessa tending to his wounds, and we finally learn her terrible backstory. Vanessa knows the animatronics want to bring Abby into their evil fold precisely because her dad is their dreaded ringleader, William Afton. He was the man who murdered the children and trapped their bodies and souls inside the animatronics long ago. We learn that Afton once worked at the pizzeria as a yellow rabbit (moviegoers might spot the yellow rabbit motif in the children’s drawings at the restaurant), and that when he puts his rabbit suit on, he still holds some kind of terrible supernatural sway over the children. In more twists and turns, Afton is also the career counselor who got Mike the job in the first place (Steve Raglan was an alias), and to add insult to injury, he also kidnapped and killed Mike’s little brother, Garrett, on that camping trip.

While Mike gets a giant truth bomb, Freddy visits Abby at her house and lures her back to the pizzeria, where all the animatronics turn on her. Mike and Vanessa show up just in time to thwart their crazed antics, and then Afton makes his entrance, dressed in his animatronic rabbit suit and ready to kill both Mike and Abby. Though Vanessa and Afton have a charged father-daughter confrontation (he stabs her, but she lives), it is Abby who saves the day. Communicating to the children through drawings, she reveals that it was the yellow rabbit who trapped them, and the animatronics turn on Afton and get their revenge in a satisfying ending.

But of course, it's not all completely resolved. The cops aren't called, the story isn't revealed to the larger world, and the ghosts of the children are still trapped inside those animatronics, leaving Afton to die in a back room while they wait for some kind of release. Abby, who still considers the kids her friends, is doing much better in school with the actual living children around her, which means it's much easier for Mike to keep custody of his sister, but Abby also repeatedly asks her big brother if they can go back to the restaurant and visit her animatronic friends. Mike leaves the possibility open, while also visiting a comatose Vanessa in the hospital, hoping she'll make it through the ordeal and that William Afton's trail of victims is over.

Though, as Afton warned his creations just before his death, he always comes back...

Five Nights at Freddy’s is in theaters (purchase tickets at Fandango now!) and streaming exclusively on Peacock now.