Title – Willy’s Wonderland (2021)
Director – Kevin Lewis (The Drop)
Cast – Nicolas Cage, Emily Tosta, Beth Grant
Plot – A silent drifter known simply as “The Janitor” (Cage) takes up a one night job cleaning up the abandoned Willy’s Wonderland, an animatronic kids center that harbors a dark past and some very angry robotic residents.
“He’s not trapped in there with them. They’re trapped in here with him”
Review by Eddie on 21/06/2021
A fabulously over the top sounding premise that see’s Five Nights at Freddy’s join together with a wide eyed (and completely silent) Nicolas Cage, Willy’s Wonderland would appear to be the exact type of daft and ridiculous B-grade affair we need at this moment of time but unfortunately Kevin Lewis’s bland and dull horror/comedy is neither scary, funny or bonkers enough to become this years Mandy.
Good for what’s likely to create a few more readily used Cage memes and viral clips (here’s looking at you intense Pinball session), Wonderland isn’t without its moments of bizarre joys and the sight of seeing a wide-eyed Cage go toe to toe with a collection of grungy animatronics gone rogue is the exact type of goodness that makes us all love Cage, even while his sinking to the depravity’s of such low-balling affairs such as this but Lewis’s film never maximises any of these components as we instead get a sub-90 minute film that becomes rather tiresome long before its loony finale takes place.
Viewers coming into this odd hybrid (one that lacks much in the way of genuine horror) seeking Cage shouting verbal gold or regularly getting involved in action beats will be left disappointed, firstly by the grunting Cage who does all his performing here via looks and eye movements and secondly by the fact we oddly get far more screen-time of Cage washing appliances and drinking than we do of outrageous moments as Cage’s nameless drifter spends a night at the long abandoned Willy’s Wonderland restaurant/play centre that harbors a dark past and even darker inhabitants.
The setting of this bloody wonderland seems ripe for a video-game like run through of boss fights, frights and exploration of various areas of the facility but almost all of this lowly budgeted film takes place inside either the establishment’s kitchen or dining area and by the time Cage has listened to his fourth or so song and dance number from the evil creations of Willy and then quickly dispatched a member of their squad hellbent on blood, the films rhythm is so entrenched and unsurprising you begin to quickly realize the potential of this set-up is never going to be met.
With some decent imagination and some more thought about how to bring this wild premise to life (one that brings to mind a classic Simpson’s episode from yesteryear), there’s no reason why Wonderland couldn’t of been a gloriously shlocky affair that could’ve bounced off the shoulders of its game leading man to become a cult classic of the modern era, instead we get a tired and lazy film with only splattering’s of fun and life.
Final Say –
The premise for Willy’s Wonderland suggests a lot of good silly fun but what we end up with is a wasted Nicolas Cage and a tiresome loop of incidents that becomes more of a chore to sit through rather than a B-grade joy.
2 t-shirt changeovers out of 5