In 1881, the shareholders of the Winchester gun company call upon the services of Dr. Eric Price (Jason Clarke) to assess the mental health of Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren), heiress to the Winchester fortune. Ensconced inside a huge house that she insists be expanded with hundreds of extra rooms, they fear for her sanity. Pulled into the spiral of tragedy that threatens to engulf both the Winchester business and its family, Doctor Eric Price will face demons of his own together with that of Sarah Winchester.
Set inside an incessantly creaking old house, beset with overly familiar horror tropes, the film ‘Winchester’ shoots itself in the foot within the first ten minutes. Drenched in period, rent-a-gloom visuals, fluttering candles and night time forays into rooms that are expressly forbidden, this movie doesn’t so much announce its horror intentions as drown you in them.
…not so much a presentation case of a movie, more a coffin awaiting its oft-quoted thirteen nails.
Even with usually solidifying presence of Dame Helen Mirren and reliably dour Bruce Spence amongst her house staff, the acting here is as wooden as the film’s setting. Boxed-in between lacklustre characters, a mystery that is never mysterious and believabilitly-defying character arcs, this isn’t so much a presentation case of a movie, more a coffin awaiting its oft-quoted thirteen nails.
Rattling in-between indifference and deference to its “inspired by real events” sobriquet , this Winchester’s only repeating action is its ability to diffuse any tension upon contact. With an interesting premise that that only properly reveals itself after all its dramatic bullets have been spent, any fascination you might have had, will lie bleeding on the cinema floor with your popcorn.
When the contractual ending comes, it’s clear that reloading this as a sequel won’t forestall the fate of this already-spent cartridge of a film. In short, not worth the bullets.