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Ultra HD : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: February 13th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 2021

Willy's Wonderland - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Overview -

Willy's Wonderland is a super-fun horror film done on a budget that stars Nic Cage in a role where he never speaks but kicks all sorts of animatronic butt that have been possessed by a satanic cult. Oh yes, he also loves to play pinball and drink soda. This new 4K release comes with a better-looking 2160p UHD transfer with Dolby Vision and a great, lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix. There's nothing new besides the upgraded image here, so if that's the selling point then this is Highly Recommended! 

 

A quiet drifter (Nicolas Cage) finds himself stranded in a remote town when his car breaks down. Unable to pay for the repairs he needs, he agrees to spend the night cleaning Willy's Wonderland, an abandoned family fun center. But this wonderland has a dark secret that "The Janitor" is about to discover. He soon finds himself trapped inside Willy's and locked in an epic battle with the possessed animatronic mascots that roam the halls. To survive, he must fight his way through each of them.

 

Bonus Content:

  • Feature Film in Dolby Vision
  • Inside the Fun Featurette
  • Set Tour with Actor Christian Del Grosso
  • Fresh Meat Featurette
  • Colorful Darkness and the Demon-atrons Featurette
  • Trailer
  • Image Galleries

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray + Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p HEVC/H.265
Length:
88
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.35:1
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles/Captions:
English SDH
Release Date:
February 13th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

A brand new horror-comedy is here that fits the killer-animatronic category perfectly – and with Nic Cage no less. Certainly inspired by Westworld, Five Nights At Freddy’s, and even the recent The Banana Splits MovieWilly’s Wonderland is a big ball of stupid fun that manages to do some truly creative things with a very familiar plot and story arc as Nic Cage spends the night inside Willy’s Wonderland and goes to battle with some mean animatronic animals with a crazy backstory. It’s highly entertaining, short, and to the point, and even features a dancing Nic Cage. Life is beautiful in 2024.

Willy’s Wonderland starts with a James Dean–type of guy (Nic Cage) driving his brand new Chevy SS Camaro in rural Nevada. His tire blows out and he is towed into the remote town of Hayesville, which has a terrifying recent past and a ton of unsolved missing person reports. Cage agrees with a firm handshake to be a janitor for a night at Willy’s Wonderland, a former family fun center, similar to Showbiz Pizza or Chuck E. Cheese that has been out of business for a variety of reasons. If Cage cleans up the place, he will have his car back in the morning, all fixed and free of charge. It seems like an easy enough job, but things are about to go from clean and shine to bloodthirsty murder in a matter of seconds as the animatronic characters of Wily’s Wonderland have been possessed by serial killers of a demonic nature and need to kill and eat humans to stay on Earth’s playing field. With the help of some idiotic teenagers led by a femme fatale orphan, Nic Cage, who only goes by The Janitor might just survive the night.

Willy’s Wonderland follows in the footsteps of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy in regards to its comedy elements of horror and cool-as-hell protagonist. The only difference really besides a chainsaw and boomstick is that of the fancy one-liners from Bruce Campbell. Nic Cage has ZERO lines of dialogue in the film for its entire 89-minute run time. Instead, he gives fantastic stares, intense glances, and an occasional grunt when he’s in battle with an undead robot ostrich or weasel. This character is an ultra-stylistic badass without having to speak, which makes the film original, different, and a ton of fun to watch. In between his janitorial duties and annihilating these evil robots, Cage drinks a dozen canned sodas titled Punch with the tagline of "A fistful of caffeine to your kisser" as he dances and plays pinball. There’s no rhyme or reason to his character, or even who he is or where he comes from, but that’s what makes him so mysterious and fun to watch.

The gore is plentiful and the kills are quite hilarious with some fancy, stylized quick cuts and bursts of fluids. The extremely low budget hinders some of the cooler death scenes, but indie director Kevin Lewis handles it well and makes it a ton of fun to watch unfold. G.O. Parson’s screenplay plays tribute to those ’70s and 80’s B-horror movies perfectly with every ounce of silliness and horror that comes with it. It knows exactly what type of movie it is and wants to be and goes full-tilt boogie, all the way through the end, and that deserves applause. Beth Grant (Donnie Darko, Speed, No Country For Old Men, Little Miss Sunshine) shows up as the sheriff in town with a secret and even Grant Cramer (the lead role in Killer Klowns From Outer Space), shows up as an actor and producer of this film.

Willy’s Wonderland is on par to be that next hit cult film that will have people lining up at midnight with beer or in this case, soda and popcorn to watch this for years. It’s an absolute blast. And revisiting this a couple of years later, it holds up very well and is far better than Five Nights at Freddy's.

 

Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Willy's Wonderland drinks its way to 4K + Blu-ray via Scream Factory with two discs. They are housed inside a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The artwork features the hellish animatronic figures from the film along with the cast of the movie. It's not pretty though. No digital copy is included with this release.  

Video Review

Ranking:

Willy's Wonderland now has an upgraded 2160p UHD 4K transfer with Dolby Vision from the good people at Scream Factory. The image now is bolder and more nuanced with its color palette, especially inside the haunted venue. Exterior shots give way to an amazing wooded area with brown tree bark and green leaves that light up the surroundings. It's a naturistic look with tan and brown police uniforms that are very neutral with small hints of grey and blue skies. But once inside Willys, the color palette truly shines with the upgraded Dolby Vision. The interior is dark, but the video games and lighting bring forth those excellent neon vibes of purples, greens, blues, pinks, yellows, and more.

These colors are more vibrant in the low-light interiors that illuminate the screen in bigger ways than the 1080p version did. Black levels are richer and inkier this time around and the skin tones are as natural as they can be. The detail is sharper as well with more of the practical effects looking more vivid in the darkness. Individual hairs, fur, and textures of metal and rubber look more distinct. Wider shots and CGI effects are not as fuzzy either. This is a great-looking video presentation in 4K and a wonderful upgrade. 

Audio Review

Ranking:

This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix and it sounds wonderful in all the right places. The vehicle revving its engine and driving around the parking lot with Nic Cage as the driver sounds excellent with a fantastic low end of the bass. The track doesn't pick up until inside the Wonderland where all of the amazing ambient noises come to life with arcade games sounding off in the background, a pinball machine clanking, and the animatronic monsters coming to life with all of their metal motions to be heard. It's quite a spectacular-sounding film and this 5.1 track gets it right. On top of that, the sound effects of blood gurgles and implements are fantastic. The score always adds to the suspense and fun of the film and the dialogue is clean and clear, free of any audio problems.

Special Features

Ranking:

There are about 15 minutes of bonus features included here. It's all very brief and too short to offer anything substantial, but there are a couple of cool moments that showcase how Nic Cage worked with the puppets in the fight scenes.

  • Inside The Fun: The Making Of Willy's Wonderland (HD, 8 Mins.) - An EPK of sorts with cast and crew interviews, including Nic Cage who all discuss the making of the film, their characters, the story, tone, and more. There is some behind-the-scenes footage added in as well.
  • Set Tour With Christian Del Grosso (HD, 2 Mins.) - A very short tour of the sound stage where the film was set, hosted by the actor.
  • Colorful Darkness and The Demon-Atrons: The Production Design Of Willy's Wonderland (HD, 2 Mins.) - Another all too brief look at actual demon animatronics, which were puppets and costumes.
  • Fresh Meat (HD, 1 Min.) - The cast quickly talks bout their characters.
  • Trailer (HD 2 Mins.) - Trailer for the film.
  • Galleries - Three separate galleries that feature production photos, promo art, and costume designs.

Final Thoughts

Willy's Wonderland is an extremely fun horror film with Nic Cage that is right along the path of something like Evil Dead 2. The upgraded 4K with Dolby Vision picture is much welcome and the DTS-HD 5.1 still sounds excellent. And even though the bonus features are slim, it's always good to hear Nic Cage say he loves the absurd. Is it worth the double dip? There's nothing Collector's about this release other than the slipcase and the new 4K image. If that is enough then this is definitely Highly Recommended.

Order Your Copy of Willy's Wonderland on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray