I don’t know if there’s anything official about Willy’s Wonderland being tied in with Five Nights at Freddy’s, but it seems quite obvious that the movie borrows heavily from the concept of the game.
I played no more than 10 minutes of the game and thought it was stupid, so my knowledge of it is very limited. I know it spawned a ton of sequels quickly and I know the main idea is animatronics coming to life and wanting to kill. That’s basically the same with Willy’s Wonderland.
On paper, the idea of someone of the caliber of Nicolas Cage being in a horror movie about animatronics in a family entertainment… place? Center? Whatever the idea of Cage slaughtering animatronics at all sounds like entertainment gold and I bet that was the idea when bringing him on board. However, he’s misused, because he never utters one word the whole movie. That’s not even the biggest problem either.
Willy’s Wonderland might be the dumbest plot in recent memory… Birds of Prey… SECOND in recent memory. Cage is the strong silent type in this, which he pulls off fine, but it doesn’t work with the movie or at least how it’s structured.
Cage is passing through a small town when he has car trouble. The mechanic is conveniently there to pick him up and takes him to Willy’s Wonderland. There he meets the family-fun place’s owner, Tex Macadoo. Tex offers to fix the car if he is willing to spend the night cleaning the now-defunct fun center. Cage agrees and goes to work. At the same time, teenager Liv Hawthorne and her friends plan to burn down Willy’s Wonderland, because there’s a haunted past about it.
The teens break-in, but do everything stereotypical teens would do in horror movies, like have sex in a random room and be surprised when they’re picked off. They offer nothing to the movie, except death and exposition. In fact, only Liv seems to be trying to do what she came there for, to get Cage out and destroy the place.
You also have Cage fighting the animatronics one by one and it’s “bloody” and cool, but he’s unfazed by it all. Even when Liv explains everything to him, he doesn’t listen and goes right back to cleaning. It’s hard to find that kind of employee loyalty these days.
This leads to the biggest problem with the movie, it’s played way too seriously. When you have a movie about killer animatronics, you need to make it cheesy. Take a movie like Killer Klowns from Outer Space, the charm of that movie is how silly and cheesy it is. Willy’s Wonderland though is dark with some silly undertones. There’s not much fun to Cage pounding on an animatronic to death. Even the back story for why the animatronics come to life is way too dark and serious.
I went into the movie expecting a fun horror movie, but instead, its played too seriously and the teens are such a typical trope. The movie would have been better off without them altogether. Also, Cage being completely silent was stupid. He never questions anything. The idea of being attacked by the animatronics at all should at least warrant raising an eyebrow, but no, it seems run of the mill for him. So much so, I was thinking he knew about it all along and that’s why he let himself get into the situation. It seemed like he wanted to take them on and destroy them.
If Willy’s Wonderland would have been more cheesy and if Nicolas Cage would have been stone cold, but not literally silent the whole movie and have some reaction to the craziness, this movie could have been a lot better. The borrowed concept is interesting, but the execution of it all was poor.