Video game adaptations are a very popular commodity today. From Super Mario Bros. Movies blowing up the box office to HBO Last of us gives us the best overview of one of the greatest games in recent memory. Even more surprising, the film adaptation of Scott Cawton‘S Five Nights at Freddy’s the series has crawled its way out of production hell and finally has a 2023 release date with a cast list included Josh Hutcherson And Matthew Lillard. While the FNaF adaptation ping-ponged between seemingly endless roadblocks and eight years of gridlock, several studios and filmmakers decided they could capitalize on the series’ hype and potentially pack some fans into theaters and park them in front of TVs via streaming and VOD. . . courtesy of Hanna Barbera Banana split movies come to mind, but other projects in 2019 will use the killer animatronic formula Five Nights at Freddy’son behalf of the author GO Parsons and director Kevin Lewis— Willy’s Wonderland starring Nicolas Cage.
Willy’s Wonderlanda feature-length film inspired by Parsons’ work on the short Wally’s Wonderland, was announced back in October 2019. Long before the film’s release, the premise caught the attention of Nicolas Cage, who signed on to the project as its producer and lead star. After being delayed due to the pandemic, Willy’s Wonderland the service’s video-on-demand hit and limited theatrical run in February 2021. The film admittedly barely gutted its production budget given its box office numbers, but continues to be one of the more interesting spins in the up-and-coming animatronic horror niche thanks to Cage’s performance and parallels it’s interesting to Five Nights at Freddy’s. It may exist as an action/comedy B-horror through and through due to its claimed production budget of less than half a million dollars, but there’s definitely something oddly appealing about the quiet and stoic Nicolas Cage beating robotic animals to a pulp.
Cage Rage Unleashed in ‘Willy’s Wonderland’
Critics may not have been fans of the plot Willy’s Wonderland, or his character development for that matter. But let’s be honest, if you’re expecting a lot of character depth and elaborate writing in a film about Nicolas Cage defeating possessed animatronics, you might be disappointed. The premise and plot are straightforward, but the action is often overlooked by the audience. Cage plays a quiet, nameless drifter whose car breaks down in the small town of Hayesville, North Carolina, and without a scratch to pay the bill for his repairs. Fortunately (or unfortunately), he is given a lift to Willy’s Wonderland by mechanic Jed Love (Chris Warner). The children’s entertainment center must have had better days and has since been abandoned, but the center’s owner Tex Macadoo (Ric Reitz) offers a solution to Cage’s transportation problems: spend the night shift locked in the entertainment center and clean up the place, and Macadoo will foot the bill for the car repairs. The proposal is sketchy from the jump, but Cage’s character, caught in a bind and full of fearless courage, takes the job.
Elsewhere, a woman named Liv Hawthorne (Emily Tosta) is handcuffed for his attempt to burn Willy’s Wonderland to the ground. Fortunately, after Sheriff Lund (Beth Grant) leaves, Liv’s friends arrive and free her. There’s still work to be done, and it seems the sleepy townspeople know something evil is emanating from the once-grand entertainment hub. As darkness falls on Hayesville, Liv and friends set out to destroy Willy’s Wonderland while Cage’s Drifter/Janitor characters begin their journey from hell. Willy’s Wonderland animatronic entertainers (Willy Weasel, Ozzie Ostrich, Knighty Knight, Tito Turtle, Arty Alligator, Cammy Chameleon, and Siren Sara) blink to life, and they have intense killing intent in their icy robotic eyes. Liv makes her way inside through the ventilation system as her friends begin pouring gasoline on the exterior of the center, hoping the Janitor gets out of Willy’s Wonderland before setting the entire building on fire. With little more than his fists, his boots, and his tattered mop, The Janitor vents his frustrations with heavy-handed violence.
Liv eventually finds the Janitor and tries to persuade him to leave when she spills the beans about the animatronic, who is possessed by the spirit of the cannibal serial killer and his most ardent underlings who have plagued Hayesville. However, considering he’s already curbed the killer robotic creatures trampling into the urinals at this point, The Janitor decides to take a risk with the murderous denizens of Willy’s Wonderland. Getting his car fixed is definitely The Janitor’s priority, or maybe he’s just decided that he actually enjoys blowing off steam when animatronics make the mistake of getting in his way. Without spoiling what happened next and the ending, it’s safe to say that if the Janitor thought he had a mess to clean up at the start of the film, he hasn’t seen anything.
‘Willy’s Wonderland Shows That Stupid Fun Is Still Fun
When Five Nights at Freddy’s finally making its film debut, you can guarantee that a lot of attention will be paid to the extensive lore and backstory of the game it’s adapted. However, Willy’s Wonderland manages to keep things entertaining without relying on pre-existing information as no small part of Cage’s chaotic fight scenes with animatronics and gore is more than enough to satisfy B-horror fans.
Could the film benefit from some better character development and more complicated story beats around the center of the titular entertainment? Of course, but there is something interesting Willy’s WonderlandIt’s this willingness to keep things simple that turns a film into a pure popcorn flick that may not hit the box office but will be right at home on Saturday nights at home or even as a drive-in feature. It’s no secret that horror has entered a nuanced and atmospheric period with a lot of underlying themes, but sometimes, people just want to see Nicolas Cage take a deep beating of some animatronics, and that alone is enough.
If you’ve ever spent an evening with snacks, drinks, and… Killer Klowns from Outer Space (oddly, one of Willy’s Wonderlandproducer, Give Cramerplays Mike Tobacco in Killer Clone), Then Willy’s Wonderland probably definitely have something to offer. We all know that Nicolas Cage takes on some of the most eccentric roles in the industry, and this film is another big thing in his hat in that regard. If audiences need a horror/action/comedy movie where they can turn off their brains, relax, and watch the carnage unfold, Willy’s Wonderland can provide as waiting for Five Nights at Freddy’s continues.