“Winchester” Review ✦✦✧✧✧

3 February, 2018

Directors: Michael SpierigPeter Spierig
Screenwriters: Tom Vaughan, Michael SpierigPeter Spierig
Director of Photography: Ben Nott
Helen MirrenSarah SnookJason Clarke

Synopsis: A psychiatrist tasked with assessing the mental well-being of a reclusive widow gets more than he bargained for while exploring the labyrinthine corridors of her mansion which is said to house the souls of those killed by the Winchester rifle.

Winchester Review:

A film without a thumbprint, missing the tools and techniques to stamp a lasting impression on the horror market, “Winchester” sees a worrying level of creative deterioration from the Spierig Brothers whose follow-up to remake hit “Jigsaw” pales in comparison to a movie released less than four months ago. Poorly written and relying solely on the mythic appeal of the Sarah Winchester hauntings, the film falls madly in love with its own concept yet forgets how to tell a story, opting instead for a series of ghostly encounters followed by reams of expository fodder with little inventive output.

Ineffective haunted house silliness made worse by the promise of its ornate setting, “Winchester” feigns sophistication in all of its advertising, proving almost no better than the recent “Insidious” sequel with scenes stolen directly from a history of horror clichés. Politically motivated with a subtext practically screaming from the rooftops, the movie shows a surprising lack of metaphorical proficiency in a genre known for hiding dual meanings in its foundations, quite literally spelling out the meaning of its terror against the wealthy by-product of a firearm fortune.

Based on real events but in need of some serious polishing to feel like a worthwhile trip to the movies, “Winchester” is an excellent campfire tale that struggles to find its footing on film. The low-grade alternative to “Crimson Peak” and “The Woman in Black,” the film fumbles the ball despite the promise of a recognisable cast and eerie Victorian aesthetic. While Helen Mirren delivers the role of a seeming loony with utmost sincerity, there’s little that the Spierig Brothers can do to utilise her talents, surrounding her with so-so scares, predictable outcomes, and an ironically unfinished feel that’s desperately in need of a lasting renovation.


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