Willy’s Wonderland is everything it says on the tin: it’s Nicolas Cage trapped in a theme park fighting-off demonic animatronic characters. The Kevin Lewis directed horror/action film is as much fun as you bring along to it, but it’s a little under-budgeted and repetitive to be anything other than average. A shame, but I’m sure it has enough midnight movie madness to be a hit on the late night festival circuit. It’s a shame that the film is making its debut on VOD and not getting the opportunity to get a festival run because this is the type of film which will be a total hoot to watch with a crowd.
Cage beings an understated gravitas to his character, who is simply known as The Janitor. He’s a drifter paying-off a debt to get his car fixed who is hoodwinked into scrubbing down a dilapidated amusement arcade, which is more Dismal Land than Disneyland. It’s a role with no dialogue and Cage commits, showing as much dedication to kicking furballs as he does during his intermittent pinball games where he glugs on pop. The role will never win him another Academy Award that’s for sure, but at least Cage shows an appreciation of these wacko B-movies when the likes of Messrs Wills and Cusack appear to detest every moment in which they appear on screen.
Willy’s Wonderland is energetic and action packed, but there’s a limit to how many times you can see a giant Muppet get smacked by an ageing action star. It turns out that limit is about two – after that it becomes a tad boring. It also doesn’t help that the film takes place in about only three rooms, so there’s a restrictive and claustrophobic feeling to the movie.
While very far from one of Nicolas Cage’s finest ‘Cage Rage’ movies, Willy’s Wonderland is fun to an extent, but it’s lacking any real surprises. Having said that, if you’re looking for a movie where Nicolas Cage pummels and then beheads eight furry monsters, then this is the flick for you!