Director Kevin Lewis
Screenplay G.O. Parsons
Starring Nicolas Cage, Emily Tosta, Ric Reitz, Beth Grant, Chris Warner
For those whom Banana Splits, or even Five Nights at Freddy’s isn’t enough, Nic Cage took it upon himself to produce and star in an script by Parsons and director Lewis that they swear has nothing to do with either property. Well, maybe if one mixes in a little bit of Child’s Play, we’d have the complete story.
The film starts off with two people stuck in the Chuck E Cheese type parlor after hours. They perish. Leaving behind a little girl. Forward to a quiet traveller (Cage) in a hot rod Chevy going down an old country road when he runs into a spike strip. The tow truck driver says he can fix it, but it needs to be cash and there is no cash machine. Next thing we know, he’s conscripted to work overnight at a closed local joint called Willy’s Wonderland. The owner is planning on opening it back up and needs someone to give it the once over.
“Don’t forget to take your breaks,” he is told.
He doesn’t miss one.
Meanwhile, young Liv Hawthorne is planning on burning the place down. Her maternal figure, Sheriff Lund (Grant) tries to cuff her back at their home, but her friends break her out, then they make their way to Willy’s. By the time they get there, The Janitor, as Cage’s character is now referred, has dispatched with two of the things that go bump in the night and then goes right on working. He is non-plussed by Liv’s warning, so she breaks in to get him out. Then wacky hijinks mixed with mayhem ensues. All the while, The Janitor says not a word. Why? I don’t know. It’s not like the producer is paid by the word.
The effects and animatronics for this Willy’s Wonderland are about as complex as Nic Cage’s character. Most of them have obvious places to hold a person, and the angles are meant to hide the shortcomings. While there are some artistic shots here and there (like the shadows moving around The Janitor when he first emerges from his car, there is a lot more amature stuff in front of the camera than something that may hold interest.
Overall, the film is cohesive, for the most part. There is almost no buildup of tension. Who is disemboweled and who just get’s scratched depends on how high up one goes on the cast list. Having Cage not say anything at all is kind of a mistake, as most people get a kick out of seeing him talk as crazy as he acts.
Why does The Janitor stop everything (and I mean everything) for break time? Why would the creatures stop going after him as he drinks another Punch cola and plays pinball? Why is he not surprised at all? Why does he feel it’s his mission to keep cleaning up and kicking ass? I suppose these questions don’t really need an answer if the effects are better and a little bit of suspense is added into the mix.
Will you enjoy this film? Probably as much as one enjoys the aforementioned Banana Splits, maybe more if you like Nic Cage as a brooding mute who likes kicking ass and playing pinball. Other than that, there is not much here.
(**1/2 out of *****)