Movie Review: Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

Toeing the line somewhere in the realm of action, comedy, horror, and parody, Willy’s Wonderland was directed by Kevin Lewis and released in 2021. When his car is damaged, a quiet drifter (Nicolas Cage) must spend a night in the remote town of Hayesville, Nevada. With no money, he is forced to accept an overnight cleaning job at Willy’s Wonderland, an abandoned family restaurant with a gruesome history. The film also stars the “that actor” Beth Grant as the clearly evil town Sheriff Eloise Lund, and Emily Tosta as Liv, her adopted daughter.

+ Nicolas Cage is good, but there are so many unanswered questions about his strange personality. You can count the total number of words he speaks on fewer than one hand, but his eccentric movements and the acting through his eyes are incredibly compelling
+ the film is ultra-violent, but also features dark comedy moments. It’s hard to nail down a genre (and especially hard to nail down a sub genre to whatever you decide the film is) but in a way that makes it more unique. How often do you get to see an animatronic animal kill two hot twenty-somethings while they’re having sex in a family restaurant’s back room where murders took place, also featuring Nicolas Cage?

– the film is clearly influenced by The Banana Splits Movie and the video game series, Five Nights at Freddy’s with all of the plot those franchises include. That is to say, not much of a plot at all. Maybe Nicolas Cage’s character was meant to be a blank canvas to insert on, as the unnamed protagonist of Five Nights at Freddy’s was?

Should you see this film: It’s a short review because frankly the movie doesn’t need all that much discussion. If you are expecting Nicolas Cage fighting children’s restaurant animatronics to the gruesome death, you’ll get exactly what you want. I think I enjoyed this.

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