Nicolas Cage’s ‘Willy’s Wonderland’ Receives Mixed Reviews & Controversy
The action comedy horror film Willy’s Wonderland was recently simultaneously released in theaters and video on demand on February 12. Directed by Kevin Lewis, Willy’s Wonderland stars Nicolas Cage as an unnamed man simply known as “The Janitor” who is tricked by both the town sheriff (Beth Grant) and the owner of an old abandoned family entertainment center called Willy’s Wonderland (Ric Reitz) into spending the night inside the latter’s restaurant to clean it. What the Janitor does not know is that people who enter Willy’s Wonderland at night are murdered by the animatronics, who are revealed to be alive due to being possessed by the souls of satanic worshipping serial killers. Now trapped with the Sheriff’s step-daughter (Emily Tosta), the two must now fight their way out of the area and kill all of the living animatronics in order to survive.
Willy’s Wonderland received mixed to positive reviews from critics and audiences upon the film’s release. Several fans praised the horror elements and use of the animatronics, pointing out many similarities to the popular horror game Five Nights at Freddy’s. However, many people panned the movie for its writing and story, with both elements seeming very odd and poorly thought out even in a film like this. A large number percentage who watched the film were split on Cage’s performance. Some fans enjoyed him for his usual bizarre and over-the-top performance. However, others found him to be too emotionless and were confused that the Janitor never once spoke throughout the movie.
In a scathing review of the film, RogerEbert‘s Brian Tallerico of stated, “Willy’s Wonderland feels like a movie conceived during a drinking game. A few people had a few too many after a few rough days and dared each other to come up with the most ridiculous concept they could get produced. The winners of this game were G.O. Parsons and Kevin Lewis the writer and director, respectively, of a movie that seems like it is too inherently fun to fail. Imagine the video game Five Nights at Freddy’s had an angry Nicolas Cage in it, causing mayhem and destruction. And then we’ll throw in some characters and tonal choices that recall ‘80s classics like Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street (well, the sequels more than the originals). Sounds great, right?!?! What could go wrong? So much. So much could go wrong. One thing that could go wrong is if you choose the Cage Rage Package that doesn’t come with dialogue included.“