The story follows a mother of two who inherits a home from her aunt. On the first night in the new home, she is confronted with murderous intruders and fights for her daughters' lives. ... See full summary »
1920, rural Ireland. Anglo Irish twins Rachel and Edward share a strange existence in their crumbling family estate. Each night, the property becomes the domain of a sinister presence (The ... See full summary »
Inspired by true events. On an isolated stretch of land 50 miles outside of San Francisco sits the most haunted house in the world. Built by Sarah Winchester, (Academy Award®-winner 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 the outsider it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman's madness. But Sarah is not building for herself, for her niece (Sarah Snook) or for the brilliant Doctor Eric Price (Jason Clarke) whom she has summoned to the house. She is building a prison, an asylum for hundreds of vengeful ghosts, and the most terrifying among them have a score to settle with the Winchesters.
Very little of the filming took place in the actual mansion. The mansion's design in reality is extremely cramped, making filming very difficult. As such, most of the mansion's interior needed to be recreated on sound stages. See more »
A large portion of the movie has to deal with the Winchester rifle being used during the American Civil War. This is factually wrong. The Winchester rifle did not come into use until after the war, in 1866. The Henry rifle and the Spencer rifle were the main repeaters used during the war. See more »
While it is clear that The Spierig Brothers are familiar with all the haunted house horror story conventions, they, like Rob Zombie before them, do not seem to be able to effectively use them. A fondness for the genre does not translate into the ability to engage and frighten an audience.
Before anyone dismisses my review as being from someone who doesn't enjoy deliberately paced, creepy stories without a plethora of pyrotechnics, let me state that The Haunting (the original not the crappy remake) and 1944's The Uninvited are two of my favorite films. You don't need a large budget or special effects to make a scary film on the subject of a haunted house. Both Insidious and Sinister demonstrated that with good direction and a decent story you can scare the hell out of an audience.
While Winchester boasts some good actors and a wonderful setting that is fraught with possibilities, it squanders both on a tired story of ghosts looking for revenge, which completely ignores the real facts of the Winchester House. A couple jump scares accompanied by sudden music stings work to a degree, but there is no genuine feeling of suspense generated by the script, no growing sense of escalating dread. Instead we get acceptable performances and some nice looking sets as the actors go through their paces to little effect.
It's not a terrible film, but one which fails to raise the hackles and which you will quickly forget after leaving the theater.
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