Complete with killer robots and a pinball-loving Nicolas Cage, Willy’s Wonderland is a wild and campy good time you won’t soon forget.
Pitting a nearly silent Nicolas Cage against a horde of possessed animatronics in varying states of decay, Willy’s Wonderland offers the perfect monster movie spectacle to ease whatever ails you.
When a quiet stranger (Cage) finds himself in need of quick cash in a small town, he agrees to spend the night cleaning Willy’s Wonderland, an abandoned family fun center with a brutal past. The seemingly simple assignment soon proves too good to be true when the animatronics left behind spring to life with a hunger for human flesh. With hours to kill and no easy escape, the stranger has no choice other than to fight and clean until morning comes.
But as great as Cage fighting robots sounds, it’s not enough to fill the runtime of a feature film. The b-story follows Mayans MC star Emily Tosta as Liv, a young woman who dreams of burning down Willy’s Wonderland and dancing on its ruins. Together with her equally angsty teen friends, Liv plots to save Cage’s character and watch the abandoned building turn to ash. Things don’t go as planned, of course, but they never do in a movie with murderous animatronics.
There are countless horror and action films with flimsy yet enticing premises made with shoestring budgets that come and go without commanding one iota of attention. These features often rely heavily on harsh lighting and frantic handheld camera work to hide cheap effects or poor choreography, but viewers know better. Like a sixth sense, film fans know when a gonzo film utilizes these tools to showcase a specific style and when they’re used to hide a lack of talent or money. Willy’s Wonderland is a textbook example of the former. A small budget challenges the filmmakers to find creative methods of telling a story that would typically require more cash than is available to them. By overcoming these hurdles, the film creates a universe that feels fully realized. It could happen in any small town. It could happen to you.
Running at a slim 88-minutes, Willy’s Wonderland is a campy and bloody creature feature crossed with survival horror riot that finds Cage delivering another instantly classic performance while disemboweling a variety of funhouse nightmares. It’s no more profound than its premise, nor does it search for any meaning to the madness. Writer G.O. Parsons and director Kevin Lewis only wish to offer their audience a good time, and they accomplish that by giving viewers precisely what they expect. You know what you’re getting as soon as you see the art or read the description, so as long as that’s what you want, I’m sure you’ll walk away pleased.