Ensconced in her sprawling San Jose, California mansion, eccentric firearm heiress Sarah Winchester (Dame Helen Mirren) believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle.
A priest with a haunted past and a novice on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate the death of a young nun in Romania and confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun.
Dr. Louis Creed and his wife, Rachel, relocate from Boston to rural Maine with their two young children. The couple soon discover a mysterious burial ground hidden deep in the woods near their new home.
Returning to her childhood home in Louisiana to recuperate from a horrific car accident, Jessabelle comes face to face with a long-tormented spirit that has been seeking her return -- and has no intention of letting her escape.
Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one suspect: John Kramer, the man known as Jigsaw, who has been dead for over 10 years.
Callum Keith Rennie
A desperate single mother moves with her three children into the notorious, supposedly haunted, real-life Amityville house to try and use its dark powers to cure her comatose son. Things go horribly wrong.
Jennifer Jason Leigh,
Inspired by true events. On an isolated stretch of land fifty miles outside of San Francisco sits the 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.
According to records kept by the Winchester Mystery House proprietors today, Sarah Winchester constantly built and rebuilt the house throughout her thirty-eight years in residence. The Winchester house has windows and doors in the floor, doors that open into walls or go nowhere, and stairs to nowhere or into the ceiling. Its total area is around six acres (twenty-four thousand square meters). See more »
It is clearly stated in the middle of the film that the mansion's bell is rung only at midnight. Yet the bell inexplicably rings after the occurrence of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, which historically happened at 5:12 AM local time.
After all characters make it out of the mansion, post-earthquake, it is still completely dark outside. Sunrise in San Jose, California on April 18th (the date of the earthquake) occurs around 6:30 AM PDT, which would've been around 5:30 AM in 1906 (prior to the establishment of Daylight Savings Time). The characters gather in front of the mansion, which faces east, so the sun should have been rising already (or at least about to break dawn, depending on how long the story's climax was supposed to have lasted). See more »
The year was 1906 in San Jose, California. San Francisco-based psychiatrist Dr. Eric Price (Jason Clarke) was called in by the lawyers of the Winchester Repeating Arms Co. to assess the mental health of their CEO, Mrs. Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren). She had been obsessed about constantly building new rooms and sections to her house with no clear reasons, which caused concern among the members of her board.
Upon visiting her house, Dr. Price began seeing frightful visions. At first, he thought that these were just illusions from his addiction to laudanum. However, when Ms. Sarah's grandson Henry (Finn Scicluna-O'Prey), son of her niece Marian (Sarah Snook), was showing signs of possession by an evil spirit, Dr. Price needed to get his act together to help the Winchesters figure out how to fight back against the violently disturbed spirit of Cpl. Benjamin Block (Eamon Farren) who was determined to exact his revenge.
Despite the American topic, this was actually an Australian production. The film was written and directed by Austrailian identical twins Peter and Michael Spierig, billed together as "The Spierig Brothers." I did not recognize the name right away, but I realized that I had seen one of their films before, "Predestination" (2015) which I liked (MY REVIEW). Just last year, they directed the 8th installment of the "Saw" franchise called "Jigsaw" which I was not able to see. Majority of the cast was also Australian, like Clarke, Snook and Farren, along with Angus Sampson (as Ms. Sarah's helper) and Laura Brent (as Ruby, Eric's wife).
Helen Mirren seemed to be having a lot of fun wearing her oppressively black widow's gown and veil, which she wore for the entire length of this movie. Her acting was on the hammy side and was actually quite amusing to watch. She somehow gave the impression that she was not taking this project too seriously, and that may be a good thing in this case. She knows her character had some over-the-top lines and scenes, so she wisely played her with tongue-in-cheek.
I know Jason Clarke mostly for his macho action films, like "Zero Dark Thirty" (2012), "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" (2014) and "Everest" (2015). Him getting jumpy, startled and freaked out as the tormented Dr. Price in this film must have been quite a fun change of pace for him. It was his character who went through a more complete story arc in film, and he did deliver, acting-wise. There was a remarkable detail in Dr. Price's life that was a nice little twist in the film which I appreciated.
The only other film I saw Sarah Snook in was "Predestination". She was just limited to playing the concerned mother. Viewers of the rebooted "Twin Peaks" last year will recognize Eamon Farren. His character Block was given quite a back story behind his vengeful anger. Of course, Angus Sampson was the comic relief for all the "Insidious" films. Here, all he did nothing much but to hammer doors shut with 13 pieces of nails.
It did not have the Hollywood polish in terms of its cinematography and special effects. The scenes which were set at night or in darkness were too dark and were difficult to watch. The horror visual effects were quite basic, not up to present standards. A lot of the scares were jump scares brought about by sudden jolts of a ghostly face or a sudden blast of sound. While certain aspects of the story were interesting, the pacing of the storytelling was rather slow and tedious at parts. 5/10.
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