Willy’s Wonderland review by Bobby Blakey
Over the last few years Nicolas Cage has been taking on some crazy fun flicks including Mandy, Mom and Dad, Color Out of Space, and Jiujitsu as well as his big screen voice work in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse and The Croods. Now he is taking on the world of kids animatronic nightmares in his latest film Willy’s Wonderland co-starring Emily Tosta, Beth Grant, Ric Reitz, and Chris Warner, but does it bring the expected chaotic fun or will it be a dinner show not worth watching?
Willy’s Wonderland follows a quiet loner who finds himself stranded in a remote town when his car breaks down. Unable to pay for the repairs he needs, he agrees to spend the night cleaning Willy’s Wonderland, an abandoned family fun center. But this wonderland has a dark secret that the “The Janitor” is about to discover. He soon finds himself trapped inside Willy's and locked in an epic battle with the possessed animatronic mascots that roam the halls. To survive, he must fight his way through each of them.
The trailer for this film looked like a ton of fun and even without it the premise alone was a winner. After stepping into the wonderful violent world of Willy I can say I was glad I did. It is strange, quirky, ridiculous and awesome all at once. Cage goes all in with a character that is just cool and badass that showcases zero emotion and never speaks a word. His presence and looks were more than enough to get the point across in between the chaos.
The story is simple and takes some hints from Child’s Play for its back story that works just to explain how the animatronics have come to life, but beyond that keeps everything else a mystery including Cage. I so loved that he just exists, kicks ass, plays pinball, drinks and does his thing with no rhyme or reason behind it. This might annoy some people, but I love that it was just how it was.
The animatronics themselves are just creepy. You can see how they might have been those old school you see at Chuck E Cheese or Showbiz Pizza back in the day that while fun for the whole family still gave off an unnerving vibe.
Add some dirt and grime and they become full on horror perfection that was a blast to watch.
This film isn’t doing anything that hasn’t been done in the horror genre, but it is letting Cage cut loose and bringing the violent fun that made the film a blast. I loved the over the top chaotic ridiculousness of it all and hope it finds the cult status it deserves.
Grab your copy of Willy’s Wonderland on Blu-ray and DVD now from Screen Media.