If you have seen any trailers for Willy’s Wonderland, or even know the premise of the story; you will have come to understand that Willy’s Wonderland is not only heavily inspired by the cult game franchise, Five Nights at Freddy’s, but is similar in ways that fringe dangerously into the murky waters of copyright law.
You would think that in a movie with the great Nicholas Cage at the cast’s helm, there would at least be hints of great screenplay or at least one other actor that can actually act. However, you would be sorely mistaken (that is 90-minutes that I will never get back or forget; for all the wrong reasons. Instead, you’re treated to what looks like the end-product of a random selection of ‘90’s kids; let loose with a shoulder-mounted 3-ton camcorder as catastrophe unfolds before your eyes.
“But Nicholas Cage is in Willy’s Wonderland”
He is indeed and more than likely to be the reason anyone (including myself) gave it a go. Throughout the whole movie, however, our actor extraordinaire doesn’t so much mutter a single word. It comes of further dismay when you realize Ol’ Nick was partly responsible for the mess of cliches, platitudes and poor attempts at scaring the viewer that makes up the entirety of Willy’s Wonderland.
The Story Behind Willy’s Wonderland
The movie follows a tired narrative of our protagonist falling into a trap lain by strange habitants of an equally strange town. Having driven over a spike strip (because they’re always littering the roads, right?), Big Nick’s wheels are taken out, forcing him to accept a ride from a dodgy tow-truck operative. This malevolent mechanic explains that the damage will total $1,000, before informing him he can’t take credit cards. He does, conveniently, have a solution.
With reckless haste, our hero accepts an offer to work as a janitor for the creepy Willy’s Wonderland, in return for the repairs needed. You couldn’t make this up.
What follows is a very dark -and often bizarre- take on The Power Rangers of old. The costumes are of the same standard as is the profoundly unrealistic action.
There is, However, a Time and a Place for Willy’s Wonderland
Despite all said above, I do feel that Willy’s Wonderland has a place somewhere. If you take the movie as tongue-in-cheek, the production does have its occasional funny moment and doesn’t stretch the mind in a way that requires any real concentration. This makes it a perfect flick for the hungover or those looking to have a quick, easy-to-follow injection of comedy-horror.
Aside from this, Nicholas Cage unsurprisingly plays a blinder as the nameless, mute badass that the movie lays focus on. Only someone with the sheer capabilities of The Cage could carry this role off, and he does it well.
Willy’s Wonderland is a cheap and cheerful take on Five Nights at Freddy’s but in a way that brazenly mimics the loose story surrounding the unlikely hit title. It flows in a way that makes for an easy watching experience that won’t require 100% of your concentration to watch. This makes it ideal for certain situations. One of those situations, however, isn’t to stimulate your brain, to excite, or even to scare.
With a reasonably short runtime, Willy’s Wonderland is certainly worth a watch. Expect too much, however, you will be disappointed in the weak, mindless plot and the ketchup gore; I still can’t work out how these machines even have blood. Maybe that one will be answered in the sequel.
Approach Willy’s Wonderland with the right expectations, however, you will enjoy the experience.