Monday, November 22, 2010

Review: The Washingtonians (2007)

Director: Peter Medak
Starring: George Washington's teeth.

I think this movie is every history lover’s nightmare. Because it seriously defies all logic and presents one of the most out-there, ridiculous plot premises ever seen on film. Would you believe me if I told you that this movie tells us that George Washington was a cannibal, feasted primarily on young boys’ flesh AND inspired a cult of ravenous followers dedicated to protecting that secret from the American mainstream?

Well, you had me up until that last part!

No, that is seriously what this movie wants to tell a story about; pass me the Jaegermeister and a pillow while you’re leaving the theater. It’s seriously stupid, and if you try to take it the least bit seriously then you will probably hate it. But it surprisingly works, and is done with the appropriate attention to comedy and knowledge of its own silliness to be entertaining. There are even some scary moments here that are really good. It’s that strange blend of horror and comedy that sort of amalgamates itself into one festering mass of sloppy, chaotic evil…and I love the hell out of it.

Okay, so the story is basically that this family comes to the only town completely full of old people with nobody else of any other age group to settle their grandfather’s estate and get all the taxes worked out. Their daughter looks about 11 or so but acts about half that age – seriously, SHE’S AFRAID OF EVERYTHING. For Pete’s sake, even a painting of George Washington scares the bejeebus out of her and makes her scream like she is being murdered. Oh, and the parents find a scroll inside the Washington painting that tells them that George Washington was a cannibal – they don’t believe it yet, but they do think it’s interesting. Then we get some shots like these at the funeral, proving to us what a wonderful, quaint little town this really is:

Things like this are the best parts of this movie, grossing you out and just being really frigging creepy. Old people are scary!

After holding onto the scroll about Washington, the characters’ lives start to get significantly more interesting as they get some weird nightly visitors:

"We're here for the Renaissance Festival! OPEN UP OR WE'LL EAT YOUR INSIDES!"

After that the dad calls his friend the history professor to see if he knows anything about what’s going on. He comes over in the middle of the night to talk about it. The professor starts to tell a story of government manipulation of events, paranoia and historical revisionism, only to cap it all off by saying that George Washington liked little boys. WOW. That’s really something! That scene lost all tension faster than a Dennis Hopper movie! And how the hell did this guy escape capture if they don’t want anyone to know about the secret?

Bon appetit!

So the family gets kidnapped by the Washingtonians, and they’re about to be eaten when these guys show up to crash the party:


It all ends rather happily with a twist that I will not ruin for you here. It’s too good. You have to see it for yourself.

That’s The Washingtonians. It’s weird, it’s creepy, it’s…weird…and it certainly keeps your attention. For as stupid as it is, it was intended to be that way, and it will make you laugh as much as it will make your skin crawl with how creepy it is. The story is completely ludicrous, but put it in the same category as Bubba Ho-Tep, for example, and it becomes a lot more enjoyable. This is a pretty good movie that I recommend to anyone who likes this kind of comedic horror slop. Now, I’m off to change my name before the Washingtonians find me!