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Winchester Movie Review

Reviewed by on Feb 02, 2018
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw the spooky movie Winchester. How frightening is it? Will this story based on the real owner of a bizarre mansion creep you out? Check our movie review.

By: Lynn Barker

Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) was never thrilled that her husband made his fortune selling the famous Winchester rifle and other firearms. When her baby daughter died, followed by her husband, she went into deep mourning, decided she was cursed and started building a 100-room mansion to trap the angry, upset spirits of all those killed by Winchester firearms. Workers keep building rooms day and night. When a new, stronger spirit threatens her and her family, Sarah must also deal with visiting Dr. Price (Jason Clarke) who was sent by her company to prove she is insane.

Helen Mirren as Sarah WinchesterHelen Mirren as Sarah WinchesterCourtesy of CBS Films

Addicted Doctor

In Winchester, it’s 1906 and in San Jose, California in a huge haunted house always under construction, a young widow (Sarah Snook) follows her sleepwalking son Henry (Finn Scicluna-O'Prey) who has put a sack over his head. When she removes the sack, his eyes are white and he says, in a voice not his, “He is coming for us”.  Meanwhile, In San Francisco, a drug-addicted Dr. Eric Price (Jason Clarke) is partying when a lawyer comes to his door offering him a much needed job. He’s to go and evaluate the sanity of Sarah Winchester. She owns most of the Winchester Firearms Company and the board would love to label her insane and fire her.

Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) shows Dr. Price (Jason Clarke) her houseSarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) shows Dr. Price (Jason Clarke) her houseCourtesy of CBS Films

At the House

Price is welcomed by Sarah’s niece the widow and weird servants and told no drugs or firearms allowed. Alone in his room, Price looks at a picture of his dead wife Ruby (Laura Brent) and is sad. All around him, even at night, workers are constructing new rooms. He hears noises and items in his room move by themselves. He starts exploring the house seeing Sarah opening a safe and something semi-human-looking in a closet. He sees a shadow in a nailed-shut garden room. A spirit-possessed Henry, with bag on head, jumps off a third floor landing but Price catches him. Sarah and his mom are grateful.

Dr. Price's buggy approaches the Winchester houseDr. Price's buggy approaches the Winchester houseCourtesy of CBS Films

The Interview

Price interviews Sarah trying to determine her sanity while feeling that he is losing his own. She asks him more questions than he asks her. She knows about his wife Ruby who killed herself with a Winchester rifle after shooting him. He was “dead” for three minutes but came back. She explains that she is cursed by the victims of Winchester gun violence and keeps many of their angry spirits trapped in rooms in the house that are re-creations of rooms they died in. She tries to apologize to them and calm them down.

A powerful new spirit, the ghost of Confederate soldier Ben Block (Eamon Farren) blamed the company for the deaths of his brothers, shot up the office killing 15 people and was then shot and killed by cops with Winchester weapons. She’s afraid he will kill her and her family. Now she is building the gun showroom he died in. Since Price has seen things in the house, he thinks she might be sane. Sneaking out of his room at midnight, he sees Sarah, seemingly possessed, drawing plans for the new room.

Possessed, Sarah draws plans for the new roomPossessed, Sarah draws plans for the new roomCourtesy of CBS Films

Garden Room

Price finally gets into the garden room where he sees the spirit of his dead wife Ruby. It’s a recreation of the garden room in their old house. When alive, she heard voices and he never believed her and felt guilty when she tried to kill him then killed herself. Being once dead for three minutes, he is between worlds and can now see the rest of the ghosts in the house. As Ben continues to possess little Henry and then Sarah, does Price hold the secret to riding the house of Ben once and for all? Can he stop feeling guilty for his wife’s death? Will Sarah and the family survive?

Dr. Price in garden room with dead wife RubyDr. Price in garden room with dead wife RubyCourtesy of CBS Films

Wrapping Up

Don’t go to Winchester expecting gore. It’s more of a gothic mystery thriller. Yes, there are a few scary ghosts popping out at you here and there but with such an intriguing true story behind it, Winchester should have been a lot better. It is not Dame Helen Mirren’s fault. She is excellent as usual as the tortured, only half-crazy Sarah who is trying to make up for gun deaths by trapping then trying to soothe spirits of dead victims. Jason Clarke is also very good as the drug-addicted doctor who lives with his own haunted past and is more connected to the house and the Winchester family than you would think.

The widow and son Henry are hauntedThe widow and son Henry are hauntedCourtesy of CBS Films

The Spierig brothers, Aussie twin directors, give us a really creepy setting with construction noises and stairs that go nowhere.  A bit of the film was actually shot at the real Winchester Mystery House in California. The movie just seems to be balancing between familiar, pop-up scares and a truly creepy feeling too often. It won’t be scary enough for hard-core horror fans but might pull in fans of atmospheric thrillers. We can go 3 stars.

Winchester Movie Rating: 3

Winchester Movie PosterWinchester PosterCourtesy of CBS Films

See Winchester in theaters now.

Have Your Say

Had you heard of the Winchester Mystery House? Do you like gothic thrillers, ghosts and horror monsters or neither? Comment below!