Very spoilery, if you don’t already know that children’s parties tend to end in mayhem. (My review of the film is here.)
“He’s not trapped in here with them – they’re trapped in here with him!”
If you after the kind of lockdown palate cleanser that burns off the whole inside of your mouth then Willy’s Wonderland is for you. It’s noisy, supremely violent, death-strewn, daft, and rather gripping, though the plot has more holes in it than an Aero and yes, I have questions, or indeed wonderings.
This is a story of killing to stay alive (the Janitor) and revenge (Liv).
For Liv it’s her mission to destroy the long-closed Willy’s Wonderland family entertainment venue once and for all, and her friends are going to help her burn it down. The Janitor has been forced into an immediate situation he didn’t want.
She is driven by love for her lost parents, killed years ago in the venue; while he operates like another animatron, though without the annoying voicebox regurgitating childlike lines and kids’ songs.
The Janitor kills the murderous mascots by bashing them over the head and body with extreme force, and in the case of Gus Gorilla with a toilet plunger and a porcelain urinal.
Really, if that is all it takes (I say all, but I’m not offering my own demon-despatching services here) why haven’t the townspeople been able to do it instead of locking up the building and then sending in unwitting sacrificial victims to be eaten over the years?
But what happens after the night of 17 deaths (8 haunted mascots + 5 teens + 2 police + 1 owner + 1 mechanic)?
One of the cleansing pleasures of Willy’s Wonderland is that clearing the building of murder-mascots just means smashing them up then sticking them in black bin bags and lobbing them outside. If that doesn’t scream SEQUEL I don’t know what does.
In fact, at the end Siren Sara escapes bin bag oblivion, then explodes the car containing venue owner Tex Macadoo and the town mechanic. The blast sends her flying backwards, but we don’t know if she dies.
The origins of this house of horrors lie in the founder, Willy. A prolific and brutal serial killer, we are told via flashbacks that he opened Willy’s Wonderland as a way of finding victims. Filling his staff roster with people similar to him, he used children’s parties and family events as a way to lure people to their grisly deaths.
Eventually, with the sheer numbers of missing people alerting even the rather inert local police, Willy and his crew killed themselves in a satanic ritual, transferring their spirits into the animatronic mascots – which, let’s be honest, were terrifying enough even without the undead killers inside them. (I hate arcades and I hate family-friendly centres so every room is a hellhole for me even before the murder monsters start moving.)
Willy himself inhabits the giant weasel, with the other seven Siren Sara, Cammy Chameleon, Tito Turtle, Ozzie Ostrich, Gus Gorilla, Arti Alligator and Knighty Knight.
The townspeople tried to warn everyone that the mascots were possessed but were dismissed as “yokels”. Eventually, after mascot murders began occurring throughout the town, Sheriff Eloise Lund told the mascots they would be fed regularly if they stayed in Willy’s Wonderland and left the locals alone. (The spikes on the road have been delivering yet more outsiders needing somewhere to stay overnight while their cars are fixed.)
Fast-forward to now, and the Janitor’s helpers – or pointless hindrances as he sees them – are six local teenagers led by Liv. Taken in by Sheriff Lund after her parents were sacrificed to the monsters, Liv is now determined to see justice done and put an end to the murders.
All the teens bar Liv are eventually killed. When the Sheriff, hearing Liv is in there, eventually turns up at Willy’s Wonderland with her eager-beaver out-of-town cop colleague, Liv doesn’t want to leave without the Janitor but has to. (The quote at the top of this article is from Liv.)
Sheriff Lund leaves the Janitor tied to a chair, though he still manages to kill Siren Sara with his knees before breaking his bonds. Meanwhile eager-beaver is killed by Tito Turtle in their car, before Liv stamps on it.
The Janitor takes the bin bags outside, but is forced back into the building at gunpoint by the sheriff. She tries to blame him for the teenagers’ deaths and calls Willy Weasel in to be fed, but Willy appears behind her and decapitates her.
The Janitor and Willy fight, with the Janitor ending up in the ball pit before he emerges and finishes the job – with a homemade stick weapon and his hessian bag full of beers. He finally pulls of Willy’s head, and casts it aside.
Outside, the bin bags are a-stirring as the mechanic brings back the Janitor’s car. He and Tex Macadoo are astonished looking through the windows at the spotless rooms. They go inside, as the Janitor puts on his black leather jacket and walks out past the two men.
He gets in his car and Liv walks over and climbs into the passenger seat, before they drive off together.
Tex and the mechanic sit in Tex’s car laughing at what has happened, with Tex talking about finally reopening… until Siren Sara, outside the car’s back windscreen, lights an oil-soaked cloth and blows them up.
Driving away from the town, the Janitor opens a beer, looks at Liv and hands it to her. In front of them is the still-alive Tito Turtle – they drive into it and smash it to pieces.