Director – Peter Medak
Cast – Johnathan Schaech, Venus Terzo, Myron Natwick, Duncan Fraser, Julia Tortolano, Saul Rubinek
Release Year – 2007
Reviewed by John of the Dead
While he has not hit the horror scene with anything in a very long time, director peter Medak made a name for himself with his 1980 haunted house flick, The Changeling, a film forever etched in horror lore. As much as I would love to see him hit the horror realm again, I must admit I did not enjoy this entry into the “Masters of Horror” series, titled The Washingtonians as much as I wanted to. With an awesome storyline that has never been done before in the horror relam, this is one that should have been better, but wasn’t.
This flick stars Johnathan Schaech as Mike Franks, a man who’s grandmother has just passed away and left him her entire estate. He visits her home with his wife and young daughter so that they can go through her belonging and decide what to do with them, it is then that Mike makes a startling discovery. Hidden behind an old portrait of George Washington, the “Father” of our country, he finds a note with a terrible message inscribed on it. The message speaks of eating young children and carving their bones into silverware. To make matters worse, the note is signed by none other than…George Washington. When word gets out around town that Mike has discovered the note, a local sect of “Washingtonians” set out to protect the sanctity of their “father’s name at all costs.
I really liked this film’s plot, especially because it involves rewriting history…in a horrific way. This element was ever the more interesting with the fact that it involves our most noted “founding father”. The plot regarding the use of “Washingtonians” is much like the “Freemasons” or even, “The Reptilians” for those of you really into this stuff. At first I was a bit saddened by the fact that I did not get the plot I was looking for. I was expecting this to take place in the 1700s with the actual George Washington killing and bringing mayhem to the White House. Am I pushing my luck that a plot like that will ever happen? Maybe, although with the recent fad of adding horror history with books like “Price & Prejudice & Zombies”…it sure is possible.
Peter Medak’s direction in this film was OK, and he did manage to give us some pretty sweet and gory scenes toward the end of the film. The performances from his actors were highly characterized as psychotic with that high sense of creepiness that is hidden, but noticeable. I found it fun and not annoying. Speaking of “fun”, that is exactly what I did not enjoy about this film. While some of the other entries into the “Masters of Horror” series had silly elements, like John Landis’ Deer Woman, this film was a lot sillier than any other entry I have ever seen, and not in a good way. The first few times we got these silly elements I was fine with them, but by the end of the film I was unimpressed and unsatisfied. It may be the way Medak directed and executed this film, although I am sur ethe screenplay called fo these and he did the best he could with them.
Overall, this is an OK watch that I would recommend unless you really would like to see Peter medak return to the horror scene after several decades. While this does offer an interesting plot it comes off a bit too silly for me to really enjoy.
– I ranked this film #23 out of the 26 entries in my Ranking the “Masters of Horror” Entries post.