First, they came for the innocent night security guards in Five Nights At Freddy’s, and we said nothing. Next, they attacked a group of simple TV-show fans in The Banana Splits Movie, and we similarly remained silent. But now, we can be silent no more: For the concept of evil sentient animatronic animals has now threatened national treasure Nicolas Cage (see what we did there), and such base treachery will not stand.
He may be a little late to the party, premise-wise, but Willy’s Wonderland, the latest entry in the malevolent-animatronics subgenre of entertainment, looks like it has the potential to easily be the best. The reason is simple: This time, it’s Cage who is forced to confront these creatures and brutally execute them, one by one. The actor plays a drifter whose car breaks down near the Chuck E. Cheese-like fun factory of Willy’s Wonderland, and in exchange for repairs, the owner hires him to spend the night performing janitorial duties in the place (like you do). Soon enough, a group of young people show up to warn Cage’s mysterious hero that he’s not really a temp janitor, but the latest human sacrifice for this demonic institution. Of course, such warnings turn out to be unnecessary; as one of the kids, who is obviously a fan of Watchmen, says: “He’s not trapped in there with them. They’re trapped in here with him.”
For his part, Cage looks like he’s treating this as his chance to do a gloss on Eastwood’s Man With No Name, as he doesn’t speak a single word in the trailer, instead exuding quiet badassery and waiting to go HAM on some feather-and-metal creations—starting with an ostrich. Add in Beth Grant as a local cop, and Willy’s Wonderland looks like the kind of campy horror treat that could make for an excellent midnight movie, provided the film refrains from winking too hard at the audience. (Bafflingly, the YouTube description includes a link to willyswonderland.com—but if you copy and paste it into your browser, GoDaddy cheerfully offers to sell the domain to you. Huh?) Regardless, we’ll know the entertainment value soon enough: Willy’s Wonderland digitally and on demand February 12.