Directed By: Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig
Starring: Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, Sarah Snook, Finn Scicluna-O’Prey, Tyler Coppin, et. al.
Loosely based on the story of Sarah Winchester, who believed so firmly that her family was being haunted by the victims of the Winchester rifles, that she bought a house in California and had 24/7 construction done on it from the day she moved in until the day she died. In this movie, the firearms company board sends Dr. Eric Price to evaluate her mental stability and determine whether she is fit to maintain her seat on the board. Shortly after arriving, Dr. Price learns that there is more truth to Sarah’s beliefs than he originally thought.
More of a dramatic thriller than a horror movie, Winchester is spooky at times, with a few genuine jump scares. The real Winchester house is fascinating in and of itself, so I found that aspect interesting. The reasons behind the constant building and rebuilding (constructing the rooms where people were killed with Winchester rifles and tearing them down once the spirits have passed on) was one of the main plot points, which focused on a particularly vengeful spirit wanting to end the Winchester legacy. I actually found the dramatic bits more interesting than the horror aspect. The history behind the house is a point of interest, but the movie doesn’t have the time to delve into just how oddly-constructed the house was.
The effects are fairly decent, mostly dealing with creating ghostly effects, and haunting-type imagery, none of which are too terribly obvious as CGI and/or practical effects.
Winchester should appeal to anyone who enjoys dramatic horror movies, and doesn’t strictly watch horror for blood and gore. If a lack of gratuitous death scenes is a nonstarter, then you may want to avoid this movie. It’s not a bad movie to watch, but it’s also not fantastic either. It serves its purpose as a not-too-scary scary movie that one can enjoy with popcorn on a Sunday afternoon.
Winchester isn’t available to stream anywhere at the moment, but it can be rented from Redbox or Netflix home delivery service, or purchased from a participating store or on-line retailer.