Five Nights At Freddy’s will be released in UK cinemas on 25 October 2023. If you’re planning a cinema trip, we’ve put together a helpful guide for you to discover more about the age rating, and what you can expect to see in the film.
Rated 15 for strong threat, violence
A man with a traumatic past takes a night security job at a shut down diner in this US horror thriller. Scenes of strong, sustained threat and violence accompany an unsettling theme of child abduction.
Strong violence features stabbings, slashings with bladed instruments and an undetailed decapitation, resulting in bloody aftermath injury detail.
Threat and horror
There is sustained threat, some of which is of a supernatural nature. People are menaced by robotic machines designed in the form of animals and children who behave in a strange manner. There is an unsettling narrative theme of children being abducted and going missing, but this is presented mainly in verbal references or brief, undetailed flashbacks.
There is mild bad language (‘ass’, 'asshole', ‘shit’, 'screw you', 'frigging', 'freaking'), as well as very mild terms such as 'jerk' and 'hell'.
There are references to mental illness which, in the case of a young child, is firmly dismissed as being a reason for her behaviour.
This work contains flashing images which may affect viewers who are susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.
We also produce an easy-to-read visual scale of our content advice that ranges from 1 - 5, enabling parents and families to identify key content themes at a glance. Visit the film’s release page on our website for more.
How does the classification process work?
When distributors submit content to us, it undergoes a rigorous, nuanced classification process with our expert compliance officers to decide the age rating and content advice. We consider a number of content issues and factors, such as educational value, theme, tone and impact – see here.
Where films are targeted at a younger audience, we also consider factors such as the frequency, length and detail of scary or otherwise unsettling scenes, as well as factors such as the effect of music and sound, and whether there is a swift and reassuring outcome.
When making classification decisions, we also take into account the surrounding context; for example, two scenes may contain similar levels of visual detail, but other factors contribute to them having a very different tone and impact. The influence of all of these factors will ultimately decide which age rating is assigned to the content.
Why is Five Nights at Freddy’s rated 15?
(Please note: this section may contain spoilers!)
The film exceeded our guidelines at 12A, but is suitable for audiences of 15 and above.
At 12A/12 our guidelines state: “There may be moderate physical and psychological threat and horror sequences. Although some scenes may be disturbing, the overall tone should not be. Horror sequences should not be frequent or sustained.”
There are scenes of strong and sustained threat in the film, which are not permissible at 12A, but are containable within the framework of our Guidelines at 15. Whilst the threat is neither overbearingly sadistic nor sexualised, the frequency at which the scenes appear have a cumulative effect and contributed to a 15 classification.
In relation to violence, our Classification Guidelines at 12A state: “There may be moderate violence but it should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context.” Meanwhile, at 15: “Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic violence is also unlikely to be acceptable.”
In Five Nights At Freddy’s, the violence features stabbings, slashings with bladed instruments, and an undetailed decapitation, resulting in bloody aftermath injury detail. The emphasis and inclusion of bloody images exceed the framework of our Guidelines at 12A, but is suitable for people aged 15 and over.
The wider context in which content appears also has a significant bearing. We take into account audience’s views and expectations of violence across the categories. In our last consultation, people told us that they are more accepting of violence that occurs in fantasy action films. By contrast, people said that they feel a heightened sense of anxiety when it comes to depictions of 'real world' scenarios and fears, in which audiences – especially young people – are likely to be concerned that events depicted on screen could happen to them.
The violence present in the film is accompanied by a child abduction narrative theme. This is an example of a ‘real world’ issue that is an aggravating factor and may unsettle younger teen viewers, as might the supernatural aspect of the missing children returning as ghosts. We’ve therefore classified Five Nights At Freddy’s 15.
What does our research tell us?
We classify content in line with our published Classification Guidelines, which are the result of wide-scale consultations with thousands of people from across the UK, extensive research, and more than 110 years of experience.
We update our guidelines every four to five years to ensure that our decisions continue to reflect the expectations and values of people across the country. We are currently in the process of conducting our next public consultation where we are speaking to a diverse range of parents, families, teenagers and educators throughout the year.
To coincide with this, we’ve launched a short survey on our website to offer people the opportunity to help shape the future of classification. We’ll be using the findings from our research to refresh and revise our policies, with any changes coming into force in early 2024.
As well as asking people from all over the UK what they think about how content should be classified, we regularly seek input from experts in particular fields to inform our approach. We work closely with child psychologists, education professionals, charities, and other organisations. This includes our Advisory Panel on Children’s Viewing (APCV) who advise us on issues concerning children and young people and our BBFC Youth Panel, established in 2021.