Director(s) – Michael Spierig (Undead, Daybreakers) and Peter Spierig (Jigsaw, The Big Picture)
Starring – Helen Mirren (Monster University, The Twilight Zone), Sarah Snook (Black Mirror, The Glass Castle), and Jason Clarke (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Farscape)
Release Date – 2018
Rating – 3/5
A lot of the “real” horror fans I know shit on big budget or theatrical horror. When I say “real” horror fans I don’t mean the pop horror fans that like The Walking Dead, The Exorcist, and every other big budget flick that’s released. I mean horror fans that like real horror. They dig movies like Hellraiser, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the works of Toe Tag, and underground horror. When a big budget flick is announced they immediately start bashing it for no fucking reason other than to bash it.
Sometime ago news of Winchester broke out. I was a little bummed when I learned it wasn’t about Sam and Dean but I quickly got over it. The synopsis really intrigued me. By that point I had never heard of the Winchester Mansion so the story intrigued me. Several of my friends bashed the film and said it was unoriginal among many things. I didn’t care. I wanted to see it and lucky for me I got a review copy in the mail. The film may not be an effective horror film but it was still a fun watch.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a doctor employed by the Winchester arms dealer to evaluate the Winchester heiress Sarah who has taken her fortune to build an abundance of rooms onto her mansion for the spirits of those killed by the weapons her late husband created. At first the doctor suspects that Sarah is starting to come undone but after witnessing unspeakable things he starts to think she may be on to something. Things change for the worse when he encounters a spirit and learns that his past may have come back to haunt him and Sarah putting everyone in the house in danger.**Spoiler Alert**
I wasn’t expecting to love this film like I did IT and a few of the other big budget flicks but I was expecting a decent film. The film was decent but I can see why so many horror fans shunned the film.
The acting in this one was great. I absolutely loved the cast and where they took the characters. My favorite performances belonged to Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke. The two do a phenomenal job in their roles. Their characters stand out and they deliver a wide range of emotion. The supporting cast is great as well but they don’t shine like these two.
The story for this one is an interesting look at the history of the mansion and the woman behind it who believed she was cursed. I really liked that and it brought an important piece of history to the big screen but it just didn’t work as a horror film. A documentary or docudrama would have been more effective than a horror film. The horror elements are rather underwhelming and very predictable. Even the jump scares are predictable.
Finally, this isn’t a gory flick. In fact, the deaths we do get are rather dry. We do get a large amount of visual effects with very little practical. Overall, Winchester may miss the mark but it is far from a bad. The film has some redeeming qualities and one I may actually revisit in the near future. Check it out.