Winchester (2018) Horror Movie Review
Written By: FR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Directors: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Writers: Tom Vaughan, Michael Spierig
Producers: Tim McGahan, Brett Tomberlin
Date Released: February 2, 2018
Helen Mirren as Sarah Winchester
Jason Clarke as Eric Price
Sarah Snook as Marian Marriott
Finn Scicluna-O’Prey as Henry Marriott
Angus Sampson as John Hansen
Laura Brent as Ruby Price
Tyler Coppin as Arthur Gates
Eamon Farren as Benjamin Block
Bruce Spence as Augustine
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Winchester (2018) is inspired by true events. On an isolated stretch of land fifty miles outside of San Francisco sits the acclaimed most haunted house in the world. Built by Sarah Winchester (Dame Helen Mirren) heiress to the Winchester fortune, it is a house that knows no end. Constructed in an incessant twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week mania for decades, it stands seven stories tall and contains hundreds of rooms. To an outsider it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman’s madness. But Sarah is not building for herself, for her niece Marion (Sarah Snook), nor for the brilliant Dr. Eric Price (Jason Clarke), who she has summoned to the house. She is building a prison, an asylum for hundreds of vengeful ghosts, and the most terrifying amongst them have a score to settle with the Winchesters.
There is not a lot of gore in this movie. A few jump scares including both ghosts and other humans. There are scenes of suicide but was never shown on the screen. Part of a building collapses as characters run for safety. A couple of people are hit and killed by falling debris. One dead man is seen with a distorted face. A man shoots at several ghostly spirits that are attacking him in various ways; no impacts or blood is ever shown.
The Grave Review
There is a fine line that one walks when one is set to recreate a film based on a true story. On one hand, some level of artistic liberty must be taken with the reality of the story in order to make a film with widespread appeal. On the other hand, if the production moves too far from reality and loses the truth in the movie, the audience will be very outspoken about their disdain.
Winchester (2018) is a whimsical story of arms-heiress Sarah Winchester (Dame Helen Mirren) and the curse bestowed unto her by the legions of those killed by her family’s infernal invention, the Winchester Repeating Rifle. The film exposed the ornate and terrifying hallways of the Winchester Mystery House, the mansion she built, destroyed, and renovated on an almost daily basis for 38 years to trap the spirits of the head-shot, heart-shot, and gut-shot victims of her family’s handy little killing machine.
Also starring is Jason Clarke as Dr. Eric Price, a beleaguered man charged with the psychiatric evaluation of Ms. Winchester by the Winchester Arms Company to discern whether Ms. Winchester is fit to continue running her family’s company. It is revealed, in time, that Dr. Price has an eerily close connection to the Winchester house. The spotlight of the film is divided between his sorrowful love story and the Winchester narrative, then woven back together and tightened up.
The movie uses some cheap jump scares and ghostly apparitions. However use of cheap thrills cannot also be said about the acting. The performances by the actors are actually quite commendable. In his turn as Dr. Eric Price, Clarke authentically portrays a man who is torn apart by his devotion to reason and in the other direction by the ghostly evidence before his eyes. Dame Helen Mirren is as poised and elegant as ever in her portrayal of Sarah Winchester. She looks foreboding and ominous dressed in a black veil and gown.
The fascinating tale of Sarah Winchester and her house of horrors is sadly cheap and lacking novelty. The saving grace is the hint of flavor that Mirren and Clarke inject it with. For its inspired performances in an otherwise uninspired production,
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Winchester (2018) two graves out of five graves.
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