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.
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.
Winchester has an interesting story, but it's told in the dullest possible way.
There's a decent story here about an alcoholic living in the Winchester house who can't tell if he's experiencing withdrawals or something supernatural. Jason Clarke plays Dr. Price, who is invited to live in the Winchester house to give Ms. Winchester an ongoing psychological evaluation. Thing is, he's an alcoholic and Ms. Winchester won't allow him to be intoxicated as long as he's living in her house. So when he starts seeing apparitions, are they hallucinations? Are they ghosts? Dr. Price doesn't know and neither do we. Great setup.
But the movie chooses to go the boring route instead. It sidelines the interesting character study for a contrived ghost plot filled with every horror cliché in the book. What would a horror movie be without predictable, lame jump scares. There's not a single decent scare in the entire movie.
Winchester was a frustrating watch. The potential is right there, but it clutches onto these tired horror tropes for dear life - as if a mainstream audience wouldn't appreciate a deeper, more psychological approach to the material over a haphazardly-constructed, derivative, haunted house flick. It's the studio mentality - make it for a million bucks, we make 20 times that. They don't care about the integrity of the script or the material itself, and neither should you. By the way, this is a true story where 98% of the story is made up. Contradiction? No, marketing.
Again, Winchester is not terrible so much as it is frustrating. And boring. Don't bother with this one.
20 of 27 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this