Tuesday, October 13, 2020

REVIEW: Winchester (live action movie)

Winchester is a historical horror movie originally released in 2018. I watched it on Netflix.

This review includes spoilers.


Dr. Eric Price is a man haunted by the death of his wife. At the behest of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, he agrees to stay at Sarah Winchester's mansion in order to evaluate her mental health. Sarah has been having her mansion renovated nonstop for a while now, and she claims her family is cursed to be haunted by the shadows or ghosts of those killed by her company's firearms. As Dr. Price attempts to investigate what he views as Sarah's delusions, he becomes concerned about Sarah's young nephew.

I vaguely recall reading or hearing that the Winchester House's odd construction was Sarah Winchester's way of evading and confusing the angry ghosts of those killed by Winchester firearms, so the explanation that Movie Sarah Winchester gave for the constant construction on her mansion took me by surprise. Honestly, I was disappointed: I was looking forward to watching a movie about a woman constantly trying to stay a step ahead of angry ghosts inside her own home.

Anyway, the movie I actually got reminded me a little of Thirteen Ghosts: a grieving widower, a ridiculously complex but cool house, and a few similar ghost revelations. I think Thirteen Ghosts worked better for me overall, but I did appreciate that Winchester had a tamer violence factor and never stripped clothing off of any of its female characters during ghostly attacks.

I really liked Dr. Price's introduction to the house and wish that more time had been spent building up the atmosphere and tension. Sarah also worked better for me at the beginning, when she was depicted as being very sharp and unwilling to take any crap from Dr. Price. This was her house, and she'd enforce her rules. Then she started talking more about the motivation behind all of the house's construction, and her behavior got a bit more woo-woo and easier for Dr. Price to write off as delusional. 

The path the plot took was okay, but largely predictable. It was easy to guess what would be needed in the final confrontation.

Some of the things that occurred didn't match up with previously established details about how the house was supposed to work. For example, when all those sealed doors suddenly opened, there should have been a great many extremely angry ghosts on the loose. Instead, they were a bit creepy but surprisingly helpful, handing Dr. Price just about everything he needed to get the job done. Also, the jumpscare when Dr. Price was first settling in his room didn't match up with Sarah's later revelations about why she built the house's rooms.

I wish the writers had been able to resist the temptation for one last "to be continued" moment. It didn't even make sense. I mean, Sarah basically asked the ghosts to allow themselves to be sealed up, and then one of them lasts a few hours or days before deciding to push out the nails? And how could they affect the nails at all? Thirteen nails was supposed to be the magic ghost-sealing number.

Meh. Not bad for a horror wimp like me, but it could have been done better.

No comments:

Post a Comment