Five Nights at Freddy’s ending explained

Jasmine Valentine
The animatronic mascots from Five Nights at Freddy's

There’s a lot of details to unpack when it comes to the end of Five Nights at Freddy’s, so here’s a full explainer on the film’s haunting ending.

With the video game franchise dating back to 2014, the world of Five Nights at Freddy’s continues to expand – this time, in the form of its first feature film.

Starring Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Lail, and Piper Rubio, the movie follows a troubled security guard who begins working at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. While spending his first night on the job, he realizes the late shift at Freddy’s won’t be so easy to make it through.

With director Emma Tammi making it clear that the film nods to many parts of the video game series, here’s the ending of Five Nights at Freddy’s explained in full. Warning – major spoilers ahead!

Five Nights at Freddy’s ending explained: It’s all about the missing kids

Much like the plot of the first video game in the series, Five Nights at Freddy’s revolves around five children who went missing during the 1980s, causing Freddy Fazbear’s pizzeria to close down.

Blissfully unaware of this, out-of-luck Mike (Hutcherson) is desperately looking for a new job after being let go from his previous security position. He has sole custody of his little sister Abby (Rubio), although their Aunt Jane (Mary Stuart Masterson) is taking legal action against him to care for Abby instead.

Mike approaches careers expert Steve Raglan (Matthew Lillard) in a desperate plea to get work. Raglan tells Mike that his only option is to take on a badly-paid, high-turnover security job at an abandoned pizzeria.

During his first night shift, fans learn more about Mike’s backstory. While falling asleep on the job, he dreams about his young brother Garrett (Lucas Grant) who was kidnapped as a child during a family camping trip. When Mike dreams about Garrett for a second time, he finds five children in his dream who try to hurt him.

With his first night uneventful, police officer Vanessa (Lail) drops by during his second night, explaining more about the pizzeria. The five children Mike sees in his dream are the children who disappeared from the restaurant back in the ’80s, with the case unresolved.

When the children harm Mike in his dream, he gets harmed in real life, leading to his suspicions that something isn’t right about the abandoned pizzeria. At the same time, Aunt Jane tries to sabotage his job by enlisting Abby’s babysitter Max (Kat Conner Sterling) and her brother to purposefully trash the restaurant in the hopes of Mike losing his job.

When the group – joined by Carl (Joseph Poliquin) and Uncle Hank (Christian Stokes) – go in, they’re killed one after the other by the animatronics. Fans also see a former security guard killed by Freddy and Co. in the film’s opening moments.

Five Nights at Freddy’s ending explained: Abby is in danger

Wrapped up in his grief and love for Garrett, Mike starts to neglect what’s happening with Abby. An introverted kid with imaginary friends whose only hobby is drawing pictures, she ends up accompanying Mike on his third shift after Max disappears.

When Abby and Mike both fall asleep in the security office, the children connect to them in different ways. In his dream, the children tell Mike that they will tell him what happened to his brother in exchange for anything they want, while Abby is goaded into playing with the animatronics – who are each inhabited by the ghosts of the missing children.

Together with Vanessa, Mike and Abby play with the characters, building a fort. When it’s time to leave, Vanessa tells Mike that if he ever brings Abby back, she’ll shoot him.

John Hutcherson being chased by monsters in Five Nights at Freddy's.

By this point, Mike has opened up a great deal about his trauma and past to Vanessa, but he knows almost nothing about her. At the same time, Mike has a feeling that Vanessa has more connections to the pizzeria than appears.

He’s also learned that the dream children feature heavily in Abby’s drawings, and they in turn are her imaginary friends. Meanwhile, he propositions Aunt Jane to take care of Abby, which leads to Abby outwardly hating Mike. While Abby locks herself in her room, Mike goes to work, being nearly mauled to death by the animatronics.

Five Nights at Freddy’s ending explained: Yellow rabbit goes down

Managing to escape from a Saw-like fate, Mike wakes up in a police outpost with Vanessa, who has dressed his wounds. She reveals that she’s known about everything all along, including that the children want Abby in exchange for information – or deluded dreams – about Garrett.

Vanessa explains that her dad used to work at the pizzeria as a yellow rabbit, which is a motif seen on the derelict walls in the restaurant in children’s drawings, as well as being something the dream children talk about. Vanessa’s dad was a man named William Afton, who snatched the five children and put them where nobody would think to look – inside the animatronics themselves.

FNAF animatronics seen in the 2023 film.

Not only was Afton also responsible for taking Mike’s brother Garrett, but he’s also the same person as Steve Raglan, the careers expert from earlier on. While Mike has been out, a defunct version of Freddy goes to collect Abby at the house, killing Aunt Jane in the process.

When they get back to the restaurant, the animatronics turn on her, each trying to kill her. Mike races back to the restaurant, tasers in hand, just in time to stall the bulk of the dolls before the yellow rabbit arrives.

Facing off against all the animatronics, Afton reveals it was he who took and killed Garrett, inviting the ghost children to kill Mike. Vanessa arrives to help, but Abby has a plan to finally reveal the truth.

Drawing a picture, she communicates to the children what the yellow rabbit has actually done, using the animatronics to take him down instead. Fast forwarding, Abby seems settled at school but occasionally asks to revisit her friends. Mike says that they never know what might happen. The child version of Freddy is seen back at the restaurant, watching the slow death of Afton in the rabbit costume.

Five Nights at Freddy’s is out now, while for more on the movie, check out the below articles.

About The Author

Jasmine Valentine is a TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's the go-to source for all things Young Sheldon, as well as many Netflix originals. Jasmine has also written for the likes of Total Film, The Daily Beast, and Radio Times.