So I planned on having this review out a couple of weeks ago when the movie was released, but my computer made the bright decision to kill itself on me in the middle of writing said review.
To be honest, it’s been a long time coming, but I’ve always managed to get things up and running again after every suicide attempt.
But this time I just couldn’t figure out what the issues was, so I did what anybody would do, I went on Walmart’s website (because I thought it would be faster, it wasn’t) and bought myself a new $500 gaming PC.
I know, not the most high end computer, but it can do the things I need it to. Plus, I figure it might be fun to actually use my computer for something other than writing and porn.
So here we are, a few weeks later to talk about a film that just about everyone has already talked about. But hey, if you think I’m going to pass up the opportunity to talk about a new Nic Cage horror movie, then you got another thing coming, bud!
So what exactly is Willy’s Wonderland?
Originally titled “Wally’s Wonderland”, not to be confused with National Lampoon’s Vacation’s Wally World, is a crazy Five Nights at Freddy’s inspired gorefest.
If you’re going to sit on a property forever and do nothing with it, expect someone else to step in and do what you couldn’t.
Hearing about this film grabbed my attention almost immediately. Nicholas Cage vs evil possessed animatronics, what is there to not love about that concept?
So obviously it was my must see film of the year. Unfortunately, I was saddened to learn production was stopped last year because of the pandemic, but thankfully they managed to finally get it done and bring us yet another Nic Cage horror schlockfest, something I’ve been loving as of late.
Speaking of, as you may or may not know, I am a pretty big Mandy fan. The film that pretty much started this trip down over the top horror movies starring Nicholas Cage. Horror seems to be his niche, and you can tell he’s having fun with it.
You should be proud of me, I waited almost 2 pages to even mention Mandy. It’s a horror film starring Nic Cage, obviously I’m going to mention Mandy, so go ahead and mark off your bingo slots, you jerks!
But unlike Mandy, with his bombastic over the top antics, this movie gives Cage the silent treatment. Literally.
His character doesn’t speak a single word throughout the whole film other than a few grunts.
Nic Cage plays The Janitor, a silent, soda drinking, pinball obsessed, animatronic ass kicker.
The plot is pretty basic when you boil it down.
Town sacrifices someone to the evil killer animatronics that haunt a pizza parlor and Nic Cage just happens to be the newest unlucky victim.
To stretch out this review a bit more, I guess I’ll go into detail.
There really isn’t any background on Cage’s character other than what I mentioned. He drinks Punch soda, drives a fast car and wears a leather jacket before of course donning the Willy’s Wonderland t-shirt.
Which you can buy off the film’s merch shop. I should probably get on that before they sell out again.
Damn it, too late. Again!
The Janitor as he will soon be later named, only communicates by grunts or a dead ass stare that should give even evil robots the chills.
He finds himself in Hayesville, Nevada. A small town of what seems to be 20 people.
He ran his car over a police spike strip, blowing out all four of his tires. Getting something like that patched up is going to get pretty expensive and unfortunately for him, this town doesn’t take credit, only cash.
Who keeps a thousand bucks on them in cash these days? Certainly not The Janitor.
To work off his payment, the mechanic Jed suggests he go talk to Tex, the owner of this abandoned pizza parlor similar to Chuck E. Cheese where creepy animatronics sing songs to the kids on stage.
I say pizza parlor but it might be something else they specialize in, I can’t remember. I just remember the place was run by a cannibal who gathered some like minded sick fucks to work there. I guess technically the main dish being served is children.
Tex has plans to clean this place up and hopefully open it back up again to the public, or so he tells The Janitor.
The real reason is, this town has been plagued by the evil robots inside, possessed by the dead serial killers. The town ends up striking a deal with them, if they keep their rampage inside Willy’s Wonderland, the town will supply them with strangers to kill and eat.
Seems reasonable enough!
The whole town is in on it, except for a handful of teens that wish to burn this place down to the ground. This group is led by Liv, who was once a survivor of these robot monsters.
As a kid, Liv and her parents fell into the same trap as The Janitor, resulting in her family getting slaughtered but her surviving the night, making it out alive.
She is found by Sheriff Lund who takes her in and raising her as her own daughter.
I guess now every night she attempts to burn this place down to the ground, but I mean, why stop her?
The town folks seem to be paralyzed with fear when it comes to these monsters, you’d think they’d try to stop them any way possible. Why not just trap them inside and burn the place down?
It also comes into question just how much of a threat these things really are once The Janitor shows up and dispatches them with ease.
One complaint I’ve seen is how quickly and effortlessly he can take one out. But I like that, I like that the whole town are fearful of these monsters, even going as far as sacrificing people to them, but this average Joe walks in out of nowhere and just destroys them without breaking a sweat.
I’ve always loved and at times have become slightly obsessed with the idea of bad guys having to face off against even worse bad guys.
I wouldn’t classify The Janitor as such, but we really know nothing about him, making him a perfect blank slate to implant whatever you want onto him.
At one point I was convinced this was Cage reprising his character from Drive Angry. Aside from the silent thing, it all matches. The car, the leather, the badassery…
If I had any complaints, it would be the limited budget.
Nic Cage being in lower budget indie films actually works in his favor, as it allows him to have more say in the project he takes and how over the top he can be.
Which honestly, I don’t know has ever been an issue for him.
Willy’s Wonderland did seem to put the budget in areas where they thought it was needed more, like for example the mascot design and I guess a custom design pinball machine.
However the set they made to showcase this battle royale is so damn tiny. The space they film in is so small, making everything feel a bit claustrophobic.
Instead of a spacious pizza parlor like we’re used to seeing or expect, we get everything cramped together.
There had to be several abandoned or rundown Chuck E. Cheese’s they could have actually shot this at, right? I doubt many are still open these days, I don’t know. Against popular opinion, I’m not 8 years old.
It just seems like one of those places that especially now, would close up shop quickly.
I guess budget wise it’s good to have your own set, better control of the environment, but it really hurts the movie at times.
As much as I enjoy the silent character approach, I do feel we missed out on some classic comebacks. They set him up for so many good witty retorts but instead we are greeted with silence and that dead eye stare.
The Janitor is very driven, to a fault even. He was given a task to perform, and damn it, nothing is going to get in his way of doing it.
Tex says he is allowed a break from time to time, which The Janitor really takes to heart. He’ll even take a break in the middle of doing battle with an evil animatronic, just so he can drink another Punch soda and continue playing some pinball.
The Janitor has until morning to do his cleaning duties, realizing pretty quickly that he has been locked inside, chains outside keeping anyone from entering or leaving.
But of course this doesn’t dissuade him from his job, leaving trash outside the locked door.
Which is also funny, because later those piles of trash include the animatronics he’s butchered.
There are eight animatronic killer mascots for The Janitor to deal with, the ringleader Willy Weasel, Arty Alligator, Cammy Chameleon, Ozzie Ostrich, Tito Turtle, Knighty Knight, Gus Gorilla, and Siren Sara.
I’m not saying I have a crush on Siren Sara or anything but… If I was in The Janitor’s shoes, I can pretty much guarantee my death would be at her hands, from my constant hitting on her.
It honestly doesn’t take long until the animatronics kick in and start their killing. I like the way it’s setup too.
They suddenly kick into life, trying to scare The Janitor, it’s clear they have a routine and this is the start of it. But The Janitor goes unfazed by it.
Then he beats Ozzie Ostrich to death with a mop handle, really putting a wrench in their routine.
I also love every time he beats one of these things to death, he has to switch into a clean Willy’s Wonderland t-shirt.
On his breaks, he goes to the kitchen, where he cleans but also keeps his Punch soda cold and for some reason, finds a Willy’s Wonderland pinball machine.
Not sure why it was in the kitchen, but once you see how tiny the arcade section of the set is, you’ll understand.
Plus, he needs kind of a safe haven to go that isn’t really connected to the rest of the parlor. No one ever considers the kitchen when thinking about Chuck E. Cheese, unless they’re talking about the recycled pizza.
The next animatronic up for a beating is Gus Gorilla, who The Janitor curb stomps to death on a urinal.
It’s actually my favorite death in the movie.
Soon after the teens show up to burn the place to the ground but stop once they realize someone is still inside.
They sneak inside not realizing The Janitor really doesn’t need or want his help. The man has a job to do, damn it! Why does everyone keep getting in his way!
In kind of a dumb moment, two teens run off to screw in one of the party rooms. They know all about the dangers of this place, even about the evil killer animatronics, yet not only do they run off to screw, they screw in front of Arty Alligator.
I get trying to separate your characters, but this did not work at all. The Janitor coming in and ripping Arty Alligator’s jaw in half worked, but the whole setup was bad in my opinion.
I won’t really bother getting into the teen characters, since they’re just there to be dead meat for our mascots anyway.
The only one to take note of is Liv, who carries a switchblade and can handle her own against these things. Plus she knows not to run off and screw someone with an evil killer animatronic watching.
Willy and his pals make quick work of the teens, leaving just The Janitor and Liv left standing. Though The Janitor just wants to finish his cleaning before sunrise.
Soon the corrupt sheriff Lund gets word that Liv is back in Willy’s Wonderland, rushing back to save her.
They are shocked to find not only is The Janitor still alive, but has killed a majority of the animatronics.
Instead of congratulating him, she ties him up and leaves him to be slaughtered by the remaining mascots.
But you know how that’s going to go, even with his hands tied behind his back, The Janitor takes out Cammy Chameleon and my beloved Siren Sara.
That just leaves our star player, Willy Weasel, who kills the sheriff out of anger and finally manages to leave a mark on The Janitor.
But armed with a sack full of Punch soda and a broken mop handle, The Janitor beats the shit out of Willy, ending his reign of terror.
Morning finally rises and Jed and Tex gets a surprise, seeing The Janitor walking out with the trash, dumping the bodies of the dead mascots.
They hand him the keys to his car and him and Liv drive off together.
But it isn’t over yet, as Siren Sara is still alive, killing Tex and Jed.
I don’t know what they’d do for a sequel, but I’d love to see one. If we are never going to get a sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep, then this could be the next best thing.
I give Willy’s Wonderland a SEE IT rating.
It isn’t as good as Mandy, as over the top as Color Out of Space, but it fits nicely in there as another fun Nic Cage gorefest.
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