Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Willy's Wonderland

What if the animatronic characters at ShowBiz Pizza Place or Chuck E. Cheese came to life and started murdering their customers? That's the basic premise behind Willy's Wonderland. Nicolas Cage stars as an unnamed mute drifter who accepts a job cleaning up a rundown attraction in exchange for repairs to his car not realizing he's actually the latest sacrifice to the evil robot mascots Willy Weasel, Arty Alligator, Knighty Knight, and the rest of their merry band.

Because you can't have a cliched horror flick without a bunch of dumb teenagers, Emily Tosta leads a group of one-note locals (Kai Kadlec, Christian Delgrosso, Terayle Hill, Jonathan Mercedes, and Caylee Cowan) who want to burn down Willy's Wonderland but first need to get Cage out. For reasons the movie doesn't go into, our protagonist refuses to leave and instead works to complete the deal offered to him even after the creatures attempt to kill him. The low-rent slasher is really only memorable for its odd set-up pitting Cage against various robot mascots. This leads to quite a bit of quick-cut action scenes as man versus machine sounds cooler than it looks on-screen (but is enhanced by lots and lots of demonic robot blood spray).

Once you know the premise for Willy's Wonderland you've seen the whole movie. It's a single gag that director Kevin Lewis and screenwriter G.O. Parsons attempt to drag out for 88 minutes with mixed success. The right audience may find it mildly diverting, but, much like Cage's character, in the end Willy's Wonderland doesn't have much to say. The film is currently available for streaming as well as for purchase on both DVD and Blu-ray.

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