Willy’s Wonderland (2021)
Reviewed By Chris Hammond
Nicolas Cage, Emily Tosta, Beth Grant
Take one demonically, inhabited family fun venue add in a completely silent drifter/Janitor in Nicolas Cage (seriously he has zero dialogue throughout the film’s runtime). and add a gaggle of teenagers and evil life-size animatronic mascots and viewers should be entertained thoroughly right?
Well first the good, the film comes off more like a spoof of horror films like Child’s Play, Annabelle, and more. It plays more like a messed up rejected, adult Goosebumps episode than a real deal horror film. Nicolas Cage is well Nicolas Cage, but this time relying on mannerisms rather than screaming and obscenities. His devotion to the job at hand is unwavering and sometimes hilarious. The rest of the cast does it’s all with what the script offers, especially Emily Tosta who plays Liv in the film.
The animatronic characters are somewhat interesting and the back story about how they came to be is a feasible one. but a whole film this does not make. Oh yes, the parody songs in the films are worth a listen as I feel more time was put into these than flashing out a full script.
Now for the bad, well what should have been a slam dunk is stuffed when after about 40 minutes things start to get too familiar. Sure the kills are fun and Cage’s OCD pinball and soda pop drinking on a time schedule are hilarious the first few times seen on screen, but after that it gets stale. Watching Cage clean up the devilish joint is great, but the film just goes back to the well one too many times.
Eighties nostalgia is great, but Nicolas Cage feels a tad bit underused, Just like viewers love seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger say his catchphrases, audiences want an over the top Nicolas Cages screaming at CGI bees.
Willy’s Wonderland feels like there’s a very unique film there somewhere, maybe it would be better served to be a videogame, Or maybe Cage should just release a video of himself tidying up his mansion while swigging down carbonated drinks and playing pinball, it would probably be more entertaining.
Rating 2 out of 5 Demonically possessed animatronic restaurant mascots.
The film is available on February 12 via digital platforms
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