I've been a movie enthusiast my whole life and been writing movie reviews for over 156 years.
If you actually need a review to figure out if you want to watch the new Nic Cage “horror thriller” (in parentheses because nothing in this movie is scary or thrilling) Willy’s Wonderland it is going to suck when someone tells you about the pandemic.
It’s the 40th movie Nic Cage has released since the lockdown, and since Cage is listed as one of the producers, you can be sure that you, the lucky viewer, will see every cent of the three-figure budget of Willy’s Wonderland, most of which was spent on the “abandoned warehouse” set you’d see in in the climax of every generic action 90s movie that’s actually released in theaters.
To suspect that this movie would be any different from the 80 Nic Cage movies released straight-to-Betamax since we’ve switched presidents requires a flashing-red-light level of denial not seen since Nicolas Cage said yes to every film role he’s been offered since Gone in 60 Seconds made some money.
If I paid Nic Cage the money I owe him from the Super Bowl he’d probably shoot a promo for this review…
Thanks Nic, here’s the $5 I owe you.
Yes. He showed up because I owed him money and bought him a sandwich along with a cold beverage.
Of course you are…
Except I have to pay and feed him unlike you.
*thinly veiled sarcasm* Gee, I hope we don’t have to wait too long before you’re next movie’s released.
In the meantime, let me get started so I never have to f*cking think about this mediocre movie ever again.
If you stop making movies in the time it takes me to write this I promise I will write the next movie you do on a napkin.
Willy’s Wonderland opens in a place called Willy’s Wonderland. There’s a couple (I’d mention their names but that would be embarrassing for them) wearing Willy’s Wonderland T-shirts. They’re killed by…something.
The movie opens again with our hero---
Nic Cage’s character is listed in the credits as The Janitor but we’re just going to call him Nic Cage (Color Out of Space, This Review, Pig) because it’s shorter than The Janitor and I want to get this review done as quickly as possible so I never have to think about this movie ever again.
And let’s face it. It’s the same “character’ Nic Cage has been playing since 2010.
It took you tens of dollars for this character. You haven’t actually tried acting since Joe.
Anyway, Nic Cage is driving toward a town called Hayesville and gets a flat tire running over some zigzags. Que lastima!
A helpful truck driver is chatting Nic Cage’s ear off. Truck driver learns that Nic Cage is a man of few words. Or no words.
A local mechanic says it’s going to take a thousand dollars to fix Nic Cage’s car. Cash. No credit cards.
The previous eight Nic Cage movies grossed a thousand dollars.
The mechanic leads Nic Cage to a friendly business owner named Tex (Ric Reitz). He owns a family restaurant and arcade named Willy’s Wonderland. If Nic Cage is willing to clean it up, the next morning his car will be waiting for him good as new.
Judging by the production value, they also shoot p*rn on videotape there after hours.
Nic Cage goes about cleaning, takes frequent breaks, and plays pinball during those breaks. On the plus side, Nic Cage is exceptionally good at cleaning the restaurant. He’s also good at destroying the animatronic ostrich that attacked him in the bathroom.
From now on, I’m writing “robot” instead of “animatronic” because it’s shorter and I want to *cuts and pastes from earlier in the review* get this review done as quickly as possible so I never have to think about this movie ever again.
Meanwhile, a teenage girl named Liv (Emily Tosta) has been trying to burn down Willy’s Wonderland because she knows what goes on behind closed doors. Too bad her stepmom Sheriff (Beth Grant, seeing better days, better roles, and much better movies) chained her to a radiator. Good thing Liv’s friends are there to rescue her.
Liv’s friends are stupid generic teens in a bad horror movie. Their characters have names, but they’re really not worth remembering because they’re so poorly written and will be dead.
But the night is young, and Nic Cage will have to make it till the morning to get his car back. Will he destroy the robot puppets before they kill him? And will he find out Hayesville’s dark little secret in time?
Yes. As nothing in this movie qualifies as suspense.
What Kind Of Works With Willy’s Wonderland
- It’s under 90 minutes long. Though there are times when it feels twice that. You’ll be looking at your phone, the time stamp, and what’s on Netflix while you’re watching this and the only thing that would make Willy go faster is the promise of the sweet release of death.
- Siren Sara provides the movie’s few, fleeting moments of scares.
What Doesn’t Work With Willy’s Wonderland
- Writer/director Kevin Lewis’ idea of “directing” is pointing the camera at Nic Cage for him to do whatever the f*ck he wants. You know that scene in every Nic Cage movie where he does that Nic Cage thing and WIGS OUT. He does that again. Huge surprise when it happens. You’re so shocked because you haven’t seen it in a Nic Cage movie since his last one.
- An attempt at a running joke in which Nic Cage takes breaks at a certain time, no matter what mayhem is going on around him. If that setup is funny to you, then you’ll be laughing your Cage off because it happens ad nauseum throughout the movie.
- Any scenes not featuring Nic Cage completely flatline. You get it might be because the movie looks like it was financed with someone’s stimulus check, but none of the younger actors have any idea how to perform in front of a camera. It might be because they didn’t have the budget for a lot of takes. It might be because of a script written by the autocomplete on your phone. It might be because they’re too embarrassed to be in this move. Or all of the above.
- There about a half-dozen more things wrong, but I’m done thinking about this movie any more than I have to. Word limit reached. On to living my life. This will somehow find cult status because of lowered standards, but ifanimatronics (oooh) getting pummelled by Cage does it for you...
You know exactly what you’re getting from this Five Nights In Freddy’s wannabe. If you go into this movie cold you’ll wonder(land) what, if anything, Nicolas Cage will say no to.