Writer: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig, Tom Vaughn (Screenplay)
Starring: Helen Mirren, Sarah Snook, Jason Clarke, Angus Sampson, Eamon Farren, Laura Brent, Tyler Coppin
Plot: Eccentric firearm heiress believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle.
Tagline – Terror is Building
Runtime: 1 Hour 39 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Good Horror Moments
Story: Winchester starts as we follow Dr Eric Price (Clarke) as he must travel across America to San Jose to the Winchester residents, Sarah Winchester (Mirren) has been building her mansion believing she is can help spirits killed by her husband created that are coming for vengeance.
The spirits have been contained like normal before, but this latest spirit has targeted her niece’s Marion (Snook) son Henry. And Eric must learn that Sarah isn’t as crazy as her fellow board members believe she is.
Thoughts on Winchester
Characters – Sarah Winchester is a lady that has become part of spiritual legend, she believes the ghosts of the victims of the Winchester rifles have come to haunt her, which leads her to build rooms for these spirits to be left at peace, she now must battle the deadliest spirit and prove that she isn’t insane. Eric Price is a doctor that has been battling his own demons, his addictions have shadowed his judgement, now he must face his own past to help Sarah through her problems.
Performances – Helen Mirren is the main draw for this movie and she fits this character wonderfully as you fully believe her as this mysterious lady. Jason Clarke comes in as the male lead and he is good through the film, the character he plays needs to be frightened but not scared by what he sees. This has a good supporting cast that deliver through the film.
Story – The story here is built on a legend that hasn’t been solved, it follows Sarah Winchester who has put her mansion into constant construction believing she needs offer spirits the chance to rest after their deaths. This is the fact behind the story, whether it is true is another question, this is what you would expect this movie to be about. This decides to lose the maybe question and just focus on the doctor needing to help tackle the deadliest spirit yet, so it becomes a dealing with a haunted house movie. It gets rounded off nicely, but you can see the twists coming from a mile away which just disappoints when looking at a story that has much more history about it.
Biopic/Horror/Mystery – When hearing of the story of Sarah Winchester is something that should be mysterious and interesting, this doesn’t show enough of this history. This effects the mystery because we need to be left up in the air about what is happening rather than it being, this is a ghost haunting movie. The horror elements are the strongest, we have plenty of jump scares which use the house well through the film, but you are left wondering why people follow noises all the time.
Settings – The film is set in the Winchester mansion, it checks all the boxes need for the film because we know this house has the mystery about it, but strangely we don’t get the labyrinth scale of the mansion.
Special Effects – The effects work for the most part of the film, the ghosts do have a different look about them and even with the weaker moment we can see past for what is happening.
Final Thoughts – This is a solid horror, it has good moment of scares, but when this isn’t happening the film does feel flat for the most part.
Overall: Good for horror fans.