May 25, 2024

WILLY’S WONDERLAND (2021) – A Nicholas Cage misfire

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Rating: ⭐ 1/2

Nicholas Cage has made his name in starring in all sort of low budget, thrillers where he plays a slightly crazy guy who pops in the process of the story. He had garnered a decent following of fans who would just love to see him do some crazy performance without any need to explain too much.

On paper Willy’s Wonderland falls nicely into this unique genre of Nicholas Cage movies. He plays a lonely guy who gets tricked into performing the role of a janitor for one night which is to clean up a long abandoned and condemned fun house. Naturally things inside the fun house turn ugly as the animatronic mascots inside becomes alive and killing machines. The background story on how the horror came about helped provide some sort of basis for the ridiculous plot and unrealistic over the top violence. Nicholas Cage’s character is never named and simply referred to as “The Janitor”. He may or may not be a mute but he never utters a single word throughout the length of the movie although he is allowed to make some strange sounds whenever he gets overly excited. He seems to have the upper hand in dealing with the murderous mascots while the other cast members predictably gets killed out sadistically one by one. In between kills he has his time off where he gleefully plays with a pin ball machine, occasionally breaking out into some kind of weird dance movement.

All this sounds like a fun Nicholas Cage outing and in a way I think the character of The Janitor here could only be pulled off by Cage. However Cage’s wild tactics alone could not save this misadventure from being a drag. I blame it on the cheesy mascot costumes and sets design, silly dialouge, a supporting cast of uninteresting characters whose only purpose is to be killed off one by one, and the way the movie plows on in a predictable fashion. It is almost as if the director or producer deliberately wanted to make a bad movie hoping that it would be so bad, it becomes good or some sort of cult favourite! As it turns out it just ended up looking bad. Sadly not even the off the top wild antics of Cage could save this from being just barely watchable. I had so wanted this to be in the lights of Cage’s “Mandy” in 2018. But unfortunately, for us, Willy’s Wonderland is everything that “Mandy” was not.

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