Movie Review: Willy’s Wonderland (2021)

Willy's Wonderland (2021) - IMDb

Title: Willy’s Wonderland

Director: Kevin Lewis

Actor(s): Nicolas Cage, Emily Tosta

Genre: Horror/Comedy

Runtime: 1 hour 28 minutes

Rating: B+

Recommended?: Yes


Equal parts ridiculous and luridly entertaining, Willy’s Wonderland has the makings of a cult classic. It’s not exactly a good movie per se, but it’s oddball combination of surrealism and graphic violence makes it something thats weirdness is hard to shake off. Nicolas Cage plays the silent ‘janitor,’ who is roped into spending the night cleaning a tourist attraction for ‘kids,’ the oddly sexual-sounding and sinister Willy’s Wonderland.

The place is an absolute shithole and it’s still populated by hideous animatronic characters, which… turn out to be possessed by the souls of psychopaths and serial killers who terrorized families and eventually committed ritual suicide inside the resort. Yeah. The already ridiculous premise (and the unhinged glee I got from watching Nicolas Cage kick the crap out of a bunch of evil animatronic animals) are accompanied by the bizarre characterization and pacing. Cage’s character never says a word and doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to rectify the wrongs that were done by Willy’s residents.

He kicks some ass, then stops to clean a room and have a soda. This happens repeatedly, with no sense of build-up or immediacy to speak of. He also has the same expression throughout the entire movie, a kind of disaffected sneer. It almost feels like a satire of peoples’ criticism of Nicolas Cage as an actor. He’s an utter creature of habit, a wordless robot who sets a stopwatch for every time he glugs down another one of his sodas.

He’s accompanied by a plucky young woman and her relentlessly incompetent group of friends, who serve as meat bags to be killed by the antagonists and warn against the dangers of hedonistic teenage stupidity. I think the reason I found this movie so funny was because it was so random. So much of it seems to have been put together just for the hell of it, and it was outlandish enough to appeal to lovers of unapologetically weird movies and cult oddities. It’s definitely worth it just for the WTF factor.

Oh, and the soundtrack is pretty good too! I can’t get this tune out of my head.

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