Winchester (2018)

winchester poster 2018 movie helen mirren
3.0 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 5/10
Visual: 3/10

Good cast

Squanders cast and real story on goofy and dull supernatual story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Winchester

Studio:  Bullitt Entertainment

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  February 2, 2018

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

winchester rifle possessed boy

I’m cuckoo for spirits!

Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) is the heir to the Winchester fortune. With the death of her husband William, Sarah’s behavior begins to grow erratic and the expansive California mansion she lives in is always in a state of construction. Eric Price (Jason Clarke) is brought in to assess Sarah to see if she is stable enough to run the company. Eric finds bringing his own demons and loss to the Winchester house could be dangerous and Sarah’s spirit might not all be in her head.

Directed by the Spiering Brothers (who wrote the screenplay with Tom Vaughan), Winchester is a supernatural horror thriller. The movie was released to a modest box-office response but negative reviews.  It received Razzie nominations for Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Mirren), Worst Director(s), and Worst Screenplay.

winchester spirit ghost

Scream if you want this movie to be better!

Winchester was a trailer that you watched and didn’t impress you…and that is a problem. I like horror, but I couldn’t get into Winchester. The movie is one of those movies that play upon the basest horror clichés.

The story is based in reality and that already poses a problem for me. I am not a fan of fictionalized “true stories” and a majority of the script is fiction. Sarah Winchester was an interesting figure herself and didn’t really need to be fictionalized. The Winchester mansion and its origins are a good source for a story, but Winchester isn’t a good movie (and ruins future opportunities).

Helen Mirren is really slumming it as Sarah Winchester. It isn’t uncommon for big named actors or actresses to do a movie like this, but she seems to have better decision making in general. She generally can make a character interesting or find the meat of a character, but it feels like she found nothing here. Jason Clarke likewise has been in better things and it feels like there are better scripts for him to select.

winchester helen mirren ghost

Please…just kill me

The movie doesn’t really seem to utilize the idea it sets up. The movie seems like it should largely be about the house and the mysteries surrounding it, but it generally just has generic ghosts that make forced jumps. A “less is more” approach to the story would have been nice and something like The Innocents, The Unseen, The Haunting, or even The Others might have been a better model for how this movie could have been.

Winchester was a real bore of a horror film. The movie doesn’t deliver scares or a solid story. It wastes its cast and it takes a potentially interesting bit of Americana and squanders it. If you want a scary, on-point horror film look elsewhere. The stairway to nowhere found in the actual Winchester mansion is a pretty appropriate analogy for Winchester.


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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