Toward the start of the film “Willy’s Wonderland” a no-name, mysterious loner’s car breaks down in an isolated town. The mystery man is portrayed by Oscar winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas). The damage to his car will cost $1,000. When Cage’s character attempts to pay by credit card, Jed (Chris Warner) the mechanic tells him that he only takes cash. Furthermore, there is no working ATM in the town, or for miles in any direction.
Jed might have an opportunity for the mystery man to get the money he needs for the repairs. ‘Willy’s, a family entertainment center that specialized in children’s birthday parties, has been closed for a long time. Once a successful business, after a number of accidents and deaths, the owner Ric (Tex Macadoo) shut the place down. The rumor is that the business’s seven animatronics, which include among them an alligator, gorilla, and turtle, were to blame for what had taken place.
The proposal Ric offers Cage’s character is as follows: If he agrees to clean Willy’s throughout the course of one evening, his car will be repaired. Unbeknownst to Cage’s character, other people have been given the same offer and not lived to see the next day. In fact Sheriff Lund (Beth Grant) informs her deputy Evan (David Sheftell) that they will not be answering any calls that may come from Willy’s that evening. The only problem with that is that the sheriff’s adopted daughter Liv (Emily Tosta) is on her way to Willy’s with her friends to burn the place down.
Cage’s character has been locked inside Willy’s. He is armed only with a supply of PUNCH energy drink, which he consumes on a timed schedule. Will he be able to survive the night? Are the rumors about the animatronics true? If so, how did they get that way? All of those questions and more will be answered by the film’s conclusion.
Trivia buff take note: The original title of the film was “Wally’s Wonderland.” The design for the alligator animatronic was inspired by the Russian cartoon “Cheburashka.” Despite rumors to the contrary, the film was not inspired by the 2014 video game “Five Nights at Freddy’s” which was created by video game developer Scott Cawthon. Nicolas Cage’s character does not speak a single word throughout the film.
“Willy’s Wonderland” was directed by Kevin Lewis (The Method). G.O. Parsons (Shark Week) wrote the screenplay. The film premiered in Brazil on February 12, 2021; the next day, it was released on the internet for worldwide streaming. Comprised of the genres of action, comedy, horror and thriller, the movie has a runtime of 88 minutes.
I was in the right mood for this kind of film when I sat down to watch it. This is the sort of movie that a viewer can sit back and get caught up in as it pertains to the over the top story and action. There is not much thinking that needs to be done and that’s fine for what the film is. Recommended for fans of Cage, those who like films that are a bit out there in terms of plot, as well as fans of the horror genre.