To the Cinema! A Review of the Movie “Winchester”
Winchester opens with a scene of a fictional Dr. Eric Price (played by Jason Clarke) taking medications to deal with his troubled past. He’s just been hired by the Winchester Rifle Company to determine the sanity of Sara Winchester, and her ability to head the Winchester Rifle empire. But one immediately wonders if a man so haunted by the death of a spouse is fit to judge the mental capacity of a wealthy heiress?
What’s Winchester About? A Widow’s Wild World
Dr. Price arrives at the bustling Winchester Mystery House with construction workers swarming all over the property. He meets the current residents of the mansion, Marian Marriott, (Sara’s niece played by Sarah Snook), Marian’s son Henry (Finn Scicluna-O’Prey), and Sara Winchester herself (played by the brilliant Helen Mirren). Sara has supposedly used much of her fortune to appease the spirits of those killed by the family business by building a mansion large enough for them to reside in.
During the first night of his visit, Dr. Price has ghostly visitors, but blows them off as simply side effects of his medications. The next day, he begins his investigation of the house and Sara, who readily admits to believing that she can help contain the spirits harmed by the Winchester Rifles.
Soon ghosts appear, Dr. Price witnesses the possession of little Henry, and sees Sarah’s almost nightly séances and visions of creating spiritually guided additions to the house. A particularly vitriolic Civil War spirit soon inhabits the house and causes havoc during the famous earthquake of 1906.
What Did I Think of “Winchester”?
“Winchester” was an enjoyable film. The fictional plot had a good amount of activity to hold the viewer’s interest. There is enough fright and suspense for a few good jumps in your seat. With detailed sets laced with some steampunky-Escher elements, and time period appropriate costumes, “Winchester” definitely has the elements of gothic horror as opposed to the slash and dash of modern scary cinema. But like the house itself, some of the endless halls and staircases led to an unsatisfying end. I give it an 8 out of 10 score.
As of mid-March, the film grossed almost $39 million world-wide and received mediocre reviews. Winchester was directed by brothers Michael and Peter Spierig, released by Lionsgate and CBS Films. Run time: 1 hour, 40 minutes. Sources and photos courtesy of Winchester Mystery House, “Winchester” the movie and Wikipedia.
Victoria L. Szulc is a multi-media Steampunk artist/writer that has three pieces on display in “Steampunk III” at Soulard Art Gallery, in St. Louis, MO, and is working her fourth Steampunk novel, Lafayette to London. You can follow her works at mysteampunkproject.wordpress.com