Review: ‘Winchester’ falls flat

Story by Delaney Dickey / Contributing Writer 

This past weekend, the fantasy-thriller film “Winchester” debuted in theaters. Being a scary movie buff, I was particularly excited to see it; however, it proved to be just another mediocre horror film.

The film is set in 1906 and is based on true events. It covers the eccentric Winchester home, which is located 50 miles outside of San Francisco and is believed to be the most haunted home in North America. Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren plays Sarah Winchester, the heiress to the Winchester firearm company and the builder of this elaborate home. The 160-room mansion was constructed 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has no real cookie-cutter layout, which makes it a seven-story maze for visitors. With doors opening up to walls, windows on the floors and staircases leading into the ceiling, this home is something out of a nightmare.

However, Winchester’s motives are not driven by madness or done for her widowed niece, played by Sarah Snook. Instead, they are done through visions presented to her by ghosts of people who were killed by a Winchester firearm. She believes creating such rooms will bring the lost souls peace, but one tormented soul brings turmoil to the family. Jason Clarke plays the role of Dr. Eric Price, who is hired by the Winchester board to assess the mental state of Winchester and determine if she is fit to remain in control of the company. But he quickly learns that he has a special connection to the house that only Winchester can see.

The first half of the film is done tastefully. There are unexpected scares — even within the first five minutes — that made me jump, which is not an easy accomplishment. But as the movie progresses, not only do the jumpscares become predictable, but the storyline did as well.

Despite the storyline falling flat, the acting is brilliant and convincing. Winchester was an interesting character, and Mirren’s portrayal of her is spot on and done with grace. It was also a treat to see Mirren portray a role so different then her typical characters.

Ultimately, the acting is the only positive aspect of this movie. See “Winchester” if you’re into cheap jumpscares and cliché endings.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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