Plot: Brock (Bill Sage) grows pot and cooks meth, but his real passion is aliens, which he is convinced are real and out to eradicate mankind. He has intense, vivid dreams about these aliens, as well as some encounters that could be considered hallucinations, given his high volume drug intake. But real or not, Brock is totally convinced that the aliens are real, even posing as humans and using cell phones to track people. This means he takes an off the grid approach to life and demands the same of those around them, lest he suspect they have betrayed the human race. His wife Peggy (Sabina Gadecki) does her best to support him and his anti-alien lifestyle, but she too partakes and so the couple is riddled with paranoia. And when a group of college kids invades the local woods to live it up, they end up right in Brock’s backyard. But is Brock just a drug addled maniac or are his visions of aliens all too real?
Entertainment Value: I had fun with Welcome to Willits, but some of the marketing can be a little misleading at times. Dolph Lundgren is in the movie, but he is limited to being part of a television show within the movie itself, so he isn’t a prominent presence, just an extended cameo, more or less. The real center of the movie is Bill Sage, who brings to life an unstable, drug fueled manic, one haunted by visions and a deep, real or imagined fear of an alien invasion. I loved the movie’s sci/fi horror slant, with the rampant paranoia, alien threat, human threat, and some super fun special effects. The movie is also able to maintain some solid tension and mix in some effective dark humor, so it keeps a lot of plates spinning at once here. The narrative is capable, but doesn’t do much we haven’t seen before. At the same time, it might not be all that original, but it is well handled, so it isn’t just a rushed rehash by any means. I appreciated the characters and the movie’s dark, but humorous tone, so that helped balance out some of the “been there, done that” elements involved. Sage is a lot of fun as the unhinged Brock, while Sabina Gadecki plays his delusional, but supportive wife quite well. I loved Rory Culkin here, though likely because he looks like Tommy Wiseau on a camping trip, rather than because of his actual performance. I found Welcome to Willits to be a fun sci/fi romp with some great practical effects, recommended for genre fans.
No nakedness. The movie boasts some fun, memorable effects, from aliens to some good old fashioned gore. The limited budget is evident, but the practical effects still look cool, if you ask me. This one has hacksaw fun, gun shots, hatchet attacks, mini aliens, normal aliens, and other assorted violence and effects work. I appreciate that the practical route was taken so often, as most films just default to CGI at this point. So some fun gore to be had here, which genre fans should appreciate. Brock is a colorful character and is always on the brink of madness, but most of his lines deal with the aliens and little else, so it kind of hits a wall at a certain point. The writing is more than capable, but it rarely stands out as wild, memorable, or quotable. The lines do what they need to do, however, so no real harm done. Again, Brock is the source of most of the craziness with his rants and impulsive actions, but otherwise, this plays out within genre guidelines. I do think Brock’s presence puts up enough craziness to earn a couple points, especially with Culkin’s odd performance thrown in.
Overall Insanity: 2/10