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More fun than scary
jwwalrath-227-854872 February 2018
From the commercials, I didn't set my hopes too high. The film seemed very average, but it surprised me.

Be forewarned this is more of a supernatural drama, like The Lady in Black, than a straight-up balls-to-the-wall horror film. Not to say there aren't any genuine scares in this. There are two really creepy scenes here. It's just that the film focuses on the story behind the characters and it sometimes takes too much time between scares. Still, I appreciate the emphasis on characters and plot in this. The film feels fully realized and it has a strong cast.

Credit should also be given to the set, costumes, and props; a lot of detail and color. This film looks like the directors did their research and wanted the film to look historically accurate.

ALright, this may not be the best scary movie, but it is a good movie.
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Surprisingly cathartic
ehzimmerman2 February 2018
For those who want factual history, "Captive of the Labyrinth" by Mary Jo Ignoffo is an excellent biography of Sarah Winchester, who probably was not interested in ghosts, but rather in architecture, a field that did not invite professional participation by women. Sarah Winchester's father manufactured decorative architectural features for Victorian houses, and his factory was right next door to her childhood home -- so Sarah grew up intimately exposed to the physical details of building houses. As an educated rich woman, building her house was an expensive hobby she loved and could afford to pursue. She also incorporated the newest technology - elevators, showers, etc. - into the house, and managed a productive fruit orchards and a dried fruit business, and . I thought the movie did a good job of including some factual information based on the real Sarah Winchester, and accurately portrayed her as responsible, not crazy, and deeply caring for her family, As for the lurid sensational haunted house story, this was concocted by those who bought the house after Sarah Winchester died, and turned it into a money-making tourist trap. That said, I enjoyed this fictional ghost story, which explored deeper themes than I would normally expect from a supernatural horror genre flick. There does seem to be a heavy handed message about gun violence -- however, I agree with that message; it's more than timely..
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Pretty standard chiller
lakishaferguson2122 February 2018
I saw this during matinee it was worth the $8... Some of the spooky parts were indeed spooky. Not amazing, but not horrendous
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Not a mindless horror movie, but still not a smart one.
ryslocum4 February 2018
It is better than most "Paranormal Activity" sequels in regards that the make-up effects are very well done. The biggest flaw with the movie is the dialogue. The dialogue, for a lack of a better word, is just plain corny. I struggle to enjoy a movie with horrible dialogue, but if you can get past that flaw you should enjoy this movie very much.

There are multiple jumpscares throughout the movie which did cause audience member to jump and gasp. The scenery of the movie is my favorite part, as the scenery is what made me feel uneasy with fear. The lighting of the scenes are perfect and the re-creation of the supposedly horrifying house are gripping. If you are easily scared you should have a blast with this movie! For horror fans that are looking for some exceptional horror, this movie is not for you.
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Solid Horror
Pairic7 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Winchester: Based on a true story but this telling is rather embellished. Never mind, the additions make for a solid if quotidian Horror Film. Psychiatrist Eric Price (Jason Clarke) is addicted to laudanum and living a dissolute lifestyle when he is offered a much needed job by the legal counsel for the Winchester Company. They want him to assess the sanity of Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) who owns 51% of the company's shares. The Board will double his fee if he produces the "right" report. Sarah has been building a house for over 20 years, adding and demolishing rooms and wings, with construction teams working 24/7. That doesn't bother the Winchester Directors but Sarah is also forcing them to diversify from rifles into manufacturing roller blades.

Sarah believes that she and her house are haunted by the ghosts of victims of the Winchester repeating rifle. The rooms are for ghosts, when they finally find peace the rooms are demolished and the ghosts move on. But now a deadlier spirit (Eamon Farren) has arrived is possessing young Henry (Finn Scicluna-O'Prey), son of Marion Marriott (Sarah Snook), Sarah Winchester's niece and secretary. Eric finds that this won't such an easy job after all.

So the battle begins, this spirit is also a poltergeist and is talented at throwing people around. We get many of the usual nasty spirit tropes and a butler who resembles Lurch from The Addams Family. Acting is generally good but this isn't Mirren's most demanding role, Finn Scicluna-O'Prey does impress as Henry. The House is perhaps the real star with set design/decoration by Michael Bell/Vanessa Cerne. Superb makeup/prosthetics by Aracelli Frias/Samantha Lyttle on the deadly spirit and other ghosts. The cinematography (Ben Nott) and film editing (Mark Villa) is impressive but doesn't quite make up for the pedestrian direction by Michael & Peter Spierig. So just 7/10.
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Partially Inaccurate - Only A Few Good Scares
neener37072 February 2018
While I did like a little bit of the film, the story of Ms. Winchester was just so inaccurate. (Skip to paragraph 2 if you don't care about accuracy) I live less than 20 miles from the Winchester house and have been there multiple times and know the story. First of all, she wasn't building the house to protect herself from attacking spirits, she was building it out of guilt to help the spirits she supposedly communicated with, and while the film briefly touches on that, the majority is her building the house to protect from evil spirits, which is untrue, it was guilt and she was building it to serve as a home to spirits . She also wasn't an ominous and foreboding old woman who always wore black in a haunted house, by all accounts she was a normal and social woman who held many community events and parties at her house. But besides that the film was hit an miss, some good scares and atmosphere, and some not so good.

Helen Mirren did an alright job with her role and the rest of the actors were also very average. The atmosphere was well done, but good direction is not needed because the house itself is beautiful and mysterious. The scares are hit and miss, out of about 12, only 2 got me, but I'm a horror veteran, a group of teenage girls however screamed multiple times. Some scares work because of the accented atmosphere, but some are pretty lame and predictable, making the film an average chiller with noting very special. Over all the film is just another average effort for a Hollywood horror film that does not shine like other better films.

I would not recommend this to horror veterans.
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Doesn't Quite Come Together.
This movie isn't bad but it doesn't seem to quite deliver on it's setup. With a few tweaks this could've been a very successful slow burn, Gothic 'ghost' story in the manner of 'The Innocents' and 'The Haunting". What those movies did was create a film with all the trappings of supernatural horror without ever letting you know whether the supernatural element is real. 'Winchester' teases with this concept through most of the movie and then goes full blown, over the top, Hollywood-Ghost-Spooktacular at the end.

The cinematography is very atmospheric. The acting is good and there's a few scary moments. A marked over-reliance on jump scares got a little tedious. I really don't think they took as much advantage of the location as they could've. They might've tried some disembodied Steadicam shots with scary music to set the mood. We needed to see more of the 'Mystery House'. We needed to feel the craziness of it. It should've felt claustrophobic and all consuming. People should've got lost in it. Well, they don't and we feel everybody could leave anytime they felt like it.

The portrayal of Sarah Winchester as the tortured, guilt ridden ghost appeaser falls short, as well. This is a woman who lost a child and husband and believes she's cursed but they don't really bring that performance out and I'm sure they could've. I mean you've got Helen F-ing Miren for cripes sake. Don't you think she could knock that out of the park?

This is one of times when I have to put it all on the director. I think this screenplay probably read very well. The thing that consistently seems to bog it down is bad decisions on where to take it. For what it was, it was entertaining. I just don't think it fulfilled it's potential.
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More of the same
rstef113 February 2018
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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Beautiful, thrilling, and moving story with a little horror thrown in
keal2 February 2018
The movie takes place solely in the Winchester mansion. It's a small cast, wandering around the place, and there's ghosts, which give you the horror element, and there are some scares. But the scares are just a part of a beautifully crafted story. There's no gory, bloody stuff, or any of the cheesy horror tropes. What starts off as a seemingly creepy and exciting story, slowly builds into a psychological thriller, and as things reach a crescendo, the pieces of the puzzle come together to form a heartwarming climax. You get horror, drama and romance in a film that clocks in at less than two hours. Very well-crafted, and I didn't want this thing to end!

The entire cast is top-notch. The mansion, the way the camera moves around the place... it's all eye candy and overall it's just a joy to see this film on the big screen. I have to see this again in a few days. Basically, if you've seen the trailer and it's got you interested, I bet you'll enjoy it!
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Finally a great horor with scare, story and a good simple end! Must Watch.
L_Copa24 February 2018
I do not understand why this movie is so underrated. It has a good amount of jumpscares, it creates a horror atmosphere that makes you wonder how would you feel if you were there and it does not reveal the exact end. The movie has a great acting from Jason Clarke and Helen Mirel. It has a great portrait from superstitious people from the previous 10 decades. The directing was really great and the movie has a simple lovely story with a beginning and an end. What more do you want people nowadays? You re never pleased with horror movies so if you don't like this one you deserve to spend your time with other low movies. If you want to take my advice, watch this movie! Enjoy!
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Visually quaint, a good non-exorcism date horror flick
mtarants19 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
While I went to see it alone, I would recommend this for an edgier date for folks who dislike slasher and exorcism flicks. I'd sit through this one holding someone's hand, or burrowing my nose into someone's shoulder, but mostly because of the few jump scares and some not too bad moments of suspense.

I would like it so much more if it did not call back to "Thirteen Ghosts" so much in my mind. I liked the main character, the protagonist Doctor, while the reveal a-la "Sixth Sense" could have been done more effectively, with a more sophisticated denouement, I suppose.

The Winchester family story wasn't quite elaborately presented, if only the film mentioned some true aspects of the story in the beginning, I'd have a different attitude towards certain aspects of the film. For example, the footprint of the home, the photo of Mrs. Winchester, etc.
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Intriguing blend of true history, legend and outright fiction
JamesHitchcock20 February 2018
This film has nothing to do with the cathedral city in Hampshire. When William Winchester, the owner of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, died in 1881 he left his vast fortune to his widow Sarah, making her one of the wealthiest women in America. Soon afterwards Sarah Winchester left her home in New Haven, Connecticut and moved to San Jose, California where she began building a vast, sprawling mansion. Work on the house continued until Sarah's own death in 1922. The building, today known as the Winchester Mystery House, still exists and is a popular tourist attraction; it is noted for oddities such as staircases and passageways which lead nowhere. It is said to have been left unfinished at Sarah Winchester's death, but it lacks any coherent plan and probably never would have been "finished" even if its owner had lived for many more years.

That much is fact. For many people, however, the main interest of the Winchester Mystery House lies in the legends which have grown up around it (and, indeed, had started to grow up even during Sarah's lifetime). It was said that the house was haunted by the ghosts of all those who had been killed by guns manufactured by the Winchester company and that Sarah's obsessive compulsion to add yet more rooms to her ever-growing house was in fact an attempt to placate them. The mansion still has the reputation of being one of the most haunted buildings in America.

The film, which is set in 1902 and has Sarah Winchester as its main character, assumes that the legends are true. (A supernatural horror film based around the assumption that ghost stories are all a load of superstitious nonsense would not, I suspect, be a great success). The officers of the Winchester company, still based in Connecticut, have heard rumours that Mrs Winchester, who still holds a controlling interest in the company even though she lives on the other side of the country, has gone mad and that she believes herself to be haunted by evil spirits. They therefore appoint Eric Price, a psychiatrist, to examine her, hoping that he will declare her to be insane which will allow them to remove her from any position of control in the company. (Was Price's surname chosen in homage to the late Vincent Price, a noted actor in horror films?)

Price is that familiar figure from horror films, the sceptic who is proved wrong. He initially believes that ghost stories are all a load of superstitious nonsense, but his acquaintance with Sarah Winchester and her extraordinary home soon persuades him to change his mind, and it becomes clear that he and Sarah are indeed threatened by vengeful spirits. Particularly malevolent is the ghost of a young man who, to avenge the deaths of his brothers, Confederate soldiers cut down by the rifles of the Union army, killed several employees of the Winchester Company at their headquarters and was in his turn shot dead by the police.

The film received largely negative reviews from the critics, but I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I was going to. The cinematic ghost story can be a predictable, cliché-ridden genre, but "Winchester" brings a certain originality to it. Whereas the likes to "The Haunting in Connecticut" and the recent rehash of "The Amityville Horror" tried (very dubiously) to pass themselves off as "true" stories, "Winchester" builds upon an intriguing blend of true history, legend and outright fiction to produce something of much greater interest, a story which does not leave the viewer with a "seen-it-all-before" feeling. The film-makers were greatly assisted by their coup in persuading an actress as distinguished as Dame Helen Mirren, an actress you wouldn't normally associate with haunted-house horror movies, to star in the leading role. She invests Sarah with a good deal of dignity, making her a woman who is eminently sane, even if much of the world believes her to be mad. Dame Helen receives good support from Jason Clarke, an actor I had not previously come across, as Price, a man haunted by a personal tragedy, and one which he shares with Sarah. "Winchester" does have its share of horror clichés, including the normal spooky music and camera tricks, but overall it is one of the better recent examples of the genre. 6/10
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Pretty Good as Far as Scary Movies Go
view_and_review5 February 2018
I believe Winchester is a result of the success of The Conjuring in that The Conjuring was a successful scary movie based upon real people and real events. Winchester wasn't quite as scary as The Conjuring but I don't think it tried to be.

Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) is a widow and heiress to the Winchester fortune. Incredibly haunted by the many deaths caused by her husbands rifles she builds and builds upon her San Jose mansion in hopes to keep the spirits satiated. This is all true stuff that can be easily found and is even in the Guiness Book of World Records. The other members of the Winchester Repeating Arms company want to drive her out with the help of a doctors analysis of her.

The movie is about guilt. Sarah Winchester's guilt and even the guilt of Dr. Price (Eric Clarke), the doctor being paid to psychoanalyze her. The scares seem to take a back seat at times to the story. There are a few jump scares (one which was really good because it wasn't telegraphed like most jump scares). The cast is a solid cast being that I recognize the main actors. The movie is dark and ominous but it isn't one that will give you chills or nightmares. It's PG-13 and a fairly clean PG-13 at that--no foul language, nothing close to nudity and no blood. As far as scary movies go this was pretty good.
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Watch it. It's good.
stfaustina30 May 2018
It's hard to find a decent ghost/horror movie. This one is VERY GOOD. Story is good or the 2 A-List actors wouldn't have done it. Costume designer A+. Of the literally thousands of horror movies I've watched, -at the top of my head I can only think of around 20 that were actually good. This one is in that list. Horror is my favorite genre too.
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I actually visited this mansion tour in the 80s, struck by how many rooms there were..
jwsanfrancisco2 February 2018
I saw this house in the 80s, was impressed by tour guides; all the women were dressed in some kind of period garb from the 1860s, full hoop skirts; by all accounts this woman was widely regarded as a very sweet, kindly lady who provided employment for hundreds of workers; she should not have felt guilty about the thousands of people who fell victim to the gun that won the west,& the tortured souls who came back to seek vengeance on her; it was her husband who should have felt guilt & atonement for the men & women who met a violent end from this weapon of mass destruction; but if she was a woman that these souls branded a villainous demon, I would have said to her:'...sarah, there have been many figures in past, both famous & obscure that tried to turn over a new leaf, renounced their past history, & disavowed their criminal misdeeds & tried to contribute to society( which she did by building this bewildering mansion); for what reason is a mystery, some kind of transformation; a death in family, wartime experiences, a diagnosis of an interminable disease, or even a spiritual, religious transformation, it happens ,not often but occasionally in history...'>>
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About 3 Jump Scares, Moves Surprisingly Slow For Only 1 hr 39, Comes Together Very Cheesily
MickandRorty3 February 2018
I think the lead doctor was cast just fine. Very Depp-esque (think Secret window). Miss Winchester worked with what she was given. But, the whole movie was very slow, and ended with cheesy cornballs.

I think there are 3 jump scares, which were all done just fine. I just feel the whole climax of this movie was something that could have been straight out of "Are You Afraid Of The Dark?"

Did not care for it.
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Well done!
jlunsbee12 May 2018
This movie has a good storyline, and great actors. Costumes were so well done. Recommend!
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Campy Ms. Mirren as Widow in Black
3xHCCH2 February 2018
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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clinteastwooda23 February 2018
Best Ghost film in a long time, ignore the critics and moaners, unless films are about me too, or racial divesity or left wing the critics are panning everything, it was scary non stop mirren & finn the 2 lead actors went toe to toe throughout with there acting skills, mirren made a mistake of speaking up about people should get a oscar for acting skills not based on racial colours, hence the reason the critics hate her now, these left wing critics really are out of control, there like a lynch mob with tunnel vision.
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More disappointing than scary
magsirover14 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Honestly, I could give credit to the set design and the whole crew who did their best to make the film look historically accurate. However, I can't say there was anything scary nor was anything new with the plot. Everything was pretty basic and so were the story of love and all the other elements about how to lay a spirit to rest. Yet, I can't help but feel like their were certain rules in the spiritual realm as to how violent a spirit could become once it has been tainted by anger and hate.

seriously, a bullet with together forever used to shoot the ghost and lay him to rest? less explanation and nothing but happy cheers about how the shrink saves the day after his wife gave him clues? sorry, does it sound more like a rant rather than a review? I suppose-- the reason here is because I was rooting for this Film and it ended up into nothing. comical as a few would describe it and I'd fairly agree.
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a standard spook story with a message on the morality of guns
CineMuseFilms21 February 2018
The gothic supernatural horror is a low-prestige genre and a risky platform to use for a contentious political issue like gun control. It takes a brave filmmaker to imply moral culpability for anyone who makes instruments of death: that is the quicksand on which the film Winchester (2018) stands or falls.

To understand the message of this unremarkable but well executed 19th century horror story, viewers need to be aware that the Winchester Repeating Arms Company was and still is one of the world's biggest arms manufacturers. It helps also to understand the impact of a rapid-fire lever-action weapon when pitted against older single-shot firearms. It's the same as the difference between the modern AR-15 assault rifles used in mass shootings and a regular hunting rifle. When it first appeared, the Winchester repeater was described as that "damned Yankee rifle they load on Sunday and shoot all week". It led to carnage in the Civil War, and like the AR-15, was the most lethal killing machine of its time.

Heiress to the company, Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) is a deeply troubled soul. She believes her massive sprawling mansion is haunted and she is cursed by the ghost of every person killed by a Winchester firearm. She obsessively adds a new room in the mansion for each identified ghost, while the Winchester Company board of directors wants her certified insane to gain her 51% controlling stake. The company hires Eric Price (Jason Clarke) to fabricate a report on her mental state, knowing he is a doctor with a drug problem and heavily in debt. As Price spends time at the mansion he discovers more than he expected.

For a horror story, there is little narrative originality here and the standard spook clichés are in ample supply. The set design is based on a richly ornate reproduction of what is today called the Winchester Mystery House, a popular tourist attraction in San Jose, California. British Shakespearean actress Helen Mirren is an odd choice for an American heiress, but her imperious performance is impeccable for a recluse burdened by grief, guilt, and the supernatural. Jason Clarke is well cast as a fallen medico struggling to recover from the tragic loss of his family. All the right ingredients are present and accounted for in what is solid B-grade shlock.

What is there to commend this film? There is a dawning moment of recognition in the film's early chapter when the parallel with today's gun control debate becomes apparent. That is not to say it is obvious, and many viewers will read it as a horror story, pure and simple. The filmmaker does not sermonise nor overtly point fingers, but the notion that there is or should be moral accountability on every weapon maker for every death brought about by their work will be confronting for many. If that is so, this ordinary horror rises beyond its station.
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Super Predictable
musetteashworth26 February 2018
Almost every scene in this movie, I could see coming from a mile away. Even the jump scares were to be expected. I mean, this is one of the rare times where I don't read the plot synopsis before seeing the movie (which I do a lot), and I could correctly guess almost everything in this movie. Predictability is a bad thing when it comes to horror movies. You wanna be on the edge of your seat, wondering what's coming next. If you can guess what's coming, it makes the film somewhat of a snooze-fest. The meh-dialogue and flat characters don't help much either. The only interesting things in this movie are the vintage clothes, in my opinion.
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A film that tries incredibly hard to scare you, and never manages it once
jtindahouse6 March 2018
I had high hopes for 'Winchester' because The Spierig Brothers's previous two films 'Predestination' and 'Jigsaw' had both blown me away. They weren't just your average films. They were smart and left you thinking long after you left the cinema. So as I was watching 'Winchester' and thinking how it seemed like just your average ghost film, I still had hopes that there was a plot twist or a reveal waiting in the shadows that would blow me away. Sadly though, it never came. This is just another ghost story seen a thousand times before, and what's worse is that it's probably not as good as most of those ones before it.

The film isn't scary, period. It tries to be. It tries very hard in fact. But never once did it get the slightest jump out of me. The reason? There is zero tension or atmosphere built up. They thought all they had to do was set the film in a creepy looking house and the rest would take care of itself. That's certainly not the case however. Not only was there zero atmosphere, I also couldn't have cared less about the fate of the characters. I hated them all. No one was in any way likeable, so why should I care about their fate?

The film tries to sell itself on the 'Based on True Events' tagline which makes me sick. When your premise is this beyond belief and stupid you don't have the right to post that before your film. It's irresponsible to say the least. A very average film played out by a bored and disinterested looking cast who probably knew the film they were making was going to turn out terribly. Give it a miss and see 'Game Night' instead.
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A So-So Winning Film
rgkarim2 February 2018
"Guns don't kill people, people kill people" such a truthful phrase in this modern-day world. Well take this phrase, combine it with legendary house, and some events that occurred in the past and this mixture results in the plot of our next movie. Welcome to another Robbie's movie review, and tonight I'll be posting on the latest horror movie entitled Winchester. This interesting spectacle holds some wonder to it, but does it have the goods to deliver, especially with sensation Helen Mirren leading the charge? I'm here to answer that question for you, so let's get going.


The Setting: One of the coolest things about horror movies is the potential to craft new, dark, incredible settings that bring life, or in this case death, to the screen. The movie has one of the most interesting settings I've seen in a while, a glamorized mansion modeled after the Winchester estate. This jigsaw puzzle like house is not the friendliest on the eyes, but it works to craft a twisted chamber that plays games on the mind. It holds great potential for a lot of scares with the uncertainty that lies around every corner and angled stair case. And once the lights go down and only the candles flicker, that is when the true craziness of the house is unleashed.

The Character Development: Scary movies are mostly about scares, and in much of the modern-day media that's all they care about. Fortunately, Winchester goes a different route and brings focus back to the characters walking the hallowed halls. Both Mirren's character and Jason Clarke have some decent plot arcs to tie them to the central story contained within Winchester's elaborate walls. Their journey through their struggles has some potent emotion behind, specifically Clarke's whose path to enlightenment takes a few dramatic twists that are impressive. I liked the personalization of the characters, even the big bad spirit, that had a little more backbone to it than simply being dead. And how all these characters mesh into this story, helps give a purpose to all the scares that are at hand.

The Twist: The story itself is not too unique, but it is stronger than most horror movies hold. While character development certainly has a hand in it, and a fairly linear story to tag on to, the movie really shines in the twist that awaits those brave viewers. The director and cinema crew were able to hide the truth quite well, using subtle camera work, dialogue, and timing to really draw your attention away. And when it finally all comes to a draw, you applaud at the integration to the plot it holds and transforms into the final act of the movie. Certainly not the creepiest of the characters, but also held some impressive makeup to help seal the deal.


Minor Scare Factor: I'll admit, one scene got my flinching, but Winchester didn't have the scares the initial trailer laid down for us. They rely on the same scare tactics throughout the 90-minute film, jump scares galore that rely on the sound suddenly dropping and something popping out. While diverse in the things that come out in the dark, the tactics stay pretty much the same and eventually lose the edge they wanted to keep. Even the exciting climax was nonchalant because it had crossed into the overdramatic and away from the scares. A little more creepiness, might have helped this factor out, but maybe the implied sequel will come in.

Under Utilization of Characters: The movie is primarily about Mirren and Clarke's characters. The other characters, they unfortunately are reduced to secondary roles that are semi-significant, but still lacking that needed edge that could have helped them stand out. Henry and his mom, and John the head carpenter, they were specifically mentioned, and then...they quickly faded into the background until their hasty conclusions. Again, not the worst use of characters, but some finesse and better integration could have been the key.

The Story/Other Ghosts: I mentioned that the story was a big improvement over much of the horror movies I have seen, but I also said there was room for improvement. Winchester's story has some depth to it, but there were some plot points that were built up and then fizzled out. Mirren's family tragedy, the trauma young Henry and his mom truly faced, and even the ghost's master plan all kind of dropped short of the details I had hoped to see. Had these stories been taken a little farther, not only would the story have improved, but it also would have given the story a little more edge and allowed for other ghosts to enter the mix. Speaking of ghosts, I believe the trailer promised many spirits trolling the halls and torturing our heroes. And once again this movie failed to deliver. Plenty of spirits fell victim to the Winchester rifles, but only one of them had the guts to have any bite to the story. The rest had a few jump moments, but their stories were lost to the background, contained in the books that line the wall of the main room. And those hidden in the bolted rooms, most of them didn't even bother to make an appearance, or any meaningful one at that. No, Winchester needed to conduct a séance to recruit more spirits to its cavalcade.


Winchester wasn't the scariest movie to haunt the theaters, but it is a better piece of storytelling than most horror movies have these days. Solid character development and a twist help bring this twisted setting to life, and provide a semi-entertaining movie to the audience. The film still needs some amplification to boost things along. Primarily in the story and integration of the characters, Winchester fails to capitalize on the ghosts of the manor to provide all those scares, and falls victim to failed scare tactics. And had they integrated and dived further in all the characters stories, perhaps this too could have soared to higher quality. Not the worst movie in the world, but this one can be saved until the Redbox picks it up.

My scores: Biography/Fantasy/Horror: 7.0 Movie Overall: 6.0
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Not bad!
vengeance204 February 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Having only heard the film word a mouth from a few people, I decided, after discovering this was a horror, to go & see it!

I found the film to be quite good. A bit dull but hey it IS shot in the 1910's. Not to mention how it IS Victorian. But the film was scary & sinister enough & seemed to be that bit better than what I thought it was!

The jump scares & suspence were ace! The horror & overall feel were simply amazing!

8/10 Screw what those dumb critics are saying, this film is ace!
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