It’s that time of year folks where Nicolas Cage graces us with another strange jump into his psychosis. This latest adventure is Willy’s Wonderland which has Nicolas Cage as a silent protagonist who is tasked with cleaning a children’s defunct restaurant.
Unbeknownst to our silent hero, he has been thrown into this restaurant as a sacrificial lamb. You see Willy’s Wonderland is filled with demonic animatronics. Unfortunately for the animatronics, this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing because when he gets attacked he goes nuclear on the would-be assailant. The first time he does this is insanely over the top and intense. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t stick with that momentum.
Then as the silent protagonist continues through the night cleaning and killing a bunch of naive teens show up. Supposedly to try and save the day and the film becomes incredibly generic.
It could have been something fun
The problem with Willy’s Wonderland is that it clearly spent all its budget on getting Cage and there is only so much the man can do by himself. When the teens show up they derail the insanity and bring a sense of blandness to the film. A lot of tropes begin to arise. For example, there is a couple, a boy who is attracted to the lead girl and a guy who has no real connection to anyone.
The second they enter the restaurant they split up even though they know the place is cursed. It’s a logical nightmare and from the word go you know immediately who will be left standing when the film ends. As well as that you’ll likely know how each of them dies as their deaths are fairly predictable.
There are several funny moments in the film centred around how Cage tackles the animatronics. There is even a routine to how he takes them on. He cleans the building, quite expertly, takes a break and drinks his PUNCH and then he fights animatronics. He is slavish to this rhythm much to the detriment of the other victims as he seems to be the only one who can fight the animatronics. During various points throughout the film, he will actually stop and take a break, even during a fight.
Ultimately though Willy’s Wonderland is not crazy enough to be memorable. It rips from a well-established IP (Five Nights At Freddy’s) and then after the initial insanity introduced with Cage, the film relaxes into a predictable rhythm. It’s a shame because there was a lot of promise here and it’s wasted.
If you’re up for a trip to Willy’s Wonderland check out the links below: