Willy’s Wonderland Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
I actually don’t know why I took so long to review Willy’s Wonderland. Feel in love with it from the moment I saw the trailer and wanted to get to it right away. Just kept getting pushed back. With how much fun I had watching The Banana Splits Movie and this was has Nicolas Cage. Perfect combination for Sunday Movie watching. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of Willy’s Wonderland.
The movie starts with an ad playing on a TV, while a terrified couple run for their lies. Being chased down corridors, where the guy gets pulled backward. The woman makes it to the Banquet Hall. While a Kid is watching on in horror. We hear a woman scream and blood splattering and we jump to the title card. While a guy is speeding down the back roads. Blowing his tires out on a spike strip. He gets a ride to Hayesville, by the chatty Tow Truck Driver, who tells him a couple kids stole the spike strip and he was the unfortunate prank victim. Meanwhile, we met Liv, who is dumping gas, and about to set Willy’s on fire, but is stopped by the Sheriff, her guardian, who takes her back home. Getting there in time to see the Tow Truck Driver arriving with the guy. When they drive off, she cuffs Liv to the radiator so she can’t get involved. Back with the guy, he does not have the cash, or the means to get the cash from the ATM, but the Driver has an offer to have him work it off, and we go to Willy’s Wonderland and meet Tex. Who offers to pay for the repairs if he stayed the night and help clean Willy’s so he could reopen for business. Which he agrees and is locked in. Getting to work. We rejoin, Liv, who is rescued by her group of friends, who all want to see Willy’s burn and see the nightmare come to an end. Which is that the Animatronic Puppets are alive, which we learn when the ostrich comes to life and attacks him. He takes out the puppet and shakes himself off and keeps cleaning. Determined to finish his cleaning job, no matter the cost and that is where I will leave this for now.
This was certainly it’s own bag of insanity. With the premise behind the Animatronics, coming from Willy’s being run by a Serial Killer. Who hired several others and they would kill families celebrating Birthdays, till they were raided by the cops. Before they could be arrested, took their own lives in a satanic suicide ritual. Which transferred their souls into the Animatronic Dolls. When they started killing townsfolk, the Sheriff made a deal to send them strangers, who they manipulated to entering for the night. One of which, was Liv’s Parents, and the Sheriff took her in after surviving the night. It is silly and over the top, but fit right in perfect for the story they were telling.
They knew what they were and had fun with the over the top nature. Having some crazy deaths and the fight scenes were a lot of fun. Utilizing Cage’s character perfectly. A guy bent on finishing the job. Couldn’t be bothered and created some really amusing moments of him stopping to go back on break and not worrying about anything while playing his Pinball Machine. While the others were experiencing a horror movie, he was just there and it was great.
Designs of the Animatronics all looked great. A lot of love and care went into making them. Each feeling special in their own ways. From intimidating size and presence of Gorilla to Sara Siren using speed and the way Cammy Chameleon lured Chris in. The gore was really well done. Know they had to bring it by the bucket load and they did just that. Really playing up on various different ways and methods the Animatronics can both kill and be killed. Both of which coming in the form of bloodbaths. The location was perfect. The child environment lending itself well with the horror themes. Especially with the fights between Liv and Siren Sara and Cage and Willy.
It was a bold move, making a character that doesn’t speak, but for the most part it does kind of work. A lot of entertainment trying to figure out his character from his behavior and mannerisms. While some were a bit cringe, they had way more hits and at the end. It all just worked better for it, instead of an onslaught of one-liners.
And that was made possible because of Nicolas Cage. Eccentric guy who can go all out and he did a great job at almost restraint. Letting most of the eccentricity out while playing the Pinball Machine. He was just a mute around the people. Giving little facial expressions here and there when it came in response to something they said. Beth Grant was a great addition as the Corrupt cop who was obsessed with the idea of finishing the sacrifice. No matter what she was seeing and how well this guy was dispatching the threats. It had to be this way. Along with Emily Tosta for being the only bearable one in the friend group. Huge shouts to Jiri Stanek, Jessica Graves Davis, Taylor Towery, Chris Schmidt Jr., Christopher Bradley, Duke Jackson, Billy Bussey, and BJ Guyer for being in the Animatronic Suits.
On to a negative, and that was the group of kids. I know I shouldn’t expect much from them. They are just there to die, but just a little bit more. They had to scenes with them arguing about going in or not, when they made the decision in the first scene. Could have split them up and come in for different reasons or something. Just make what they are doing make a little bit of sense, particularly Bob and Kathy. I get why they are here, need to check off that trope, but can at least make an effort for it to make sense.
And that is all I got. This movie is a fun ride, with murderous Animatronics trying to kill everyone who comes in and one guy dead set on just cleaning the building. This won’t be for everyone, but as far as I goy, I would suggest giving it a watch.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading.