Dr Eric Price (Jason Clarke) is hired to investigate a well-known firearm heiress, Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren). Dr Eric Price is welcomed to stay in her large and unique Mansion in California while he conducts his interrogation/investigation. Sarah Winchester currently believes her mansion is being hunted by those who have been killed or been murdered by one of her firearms- a Winchester” rifle.
Directors by Peter & Michael Spierig aka The Spierig Brothers (Daybreakers, Predestination) have once again returned to work with Screen Australia for their next big project. It’s obvious from the opening scene alone that a lot of work has gone into this film, not just for its actors, but most importantly, to create The Winchester Mansion itself. The costumes and set designs are also incredible to see as this story is brought to life on the big screen.
While I personally love the directors for their previous work (particular Predestination, which is a personal favourite of mine), Winchester does have many disappointing elements that truly break my heart to share.
This is a scary tale that consists of uninteresting characters with little introduction. Over the film’s duration, I struggled to genuinely care about our leads. The film also has us follow other characters at random, with one example being Sarah Winchester’s daughter, Marion (Sarah Snook). During an engaging moment, the film will suddenly switch over, forcing us to follow another character that I had almost forgotten was in the film. And like many scary films today, there are many surprises and jumps scares. Winchester managed to make me jump only once as all the other moments are rather predictable as to when something is coming to go “boo”. These “jump scares” also used a terrible, loud noise simultaneously and the jump scares would become more about the unpleasantly loud noises. The jump scare sound effect is also used over and over, again and again. Another element which is bizarre was that some shots appeared to out of focus and would then switch back to a normal, sharp image!?!?! What?!? We all love a good twist in a movie and while Winchester does manage to tie things off with a twist, I personally didn’t feel excited nor shocked, instead I was left feeling flat.
Overall, Winchester is a film that had so much potential but the results are sadly disappointing in my eyes considering how much I truly love the Spierig brothers. With jump scares that are really just loud noises and characters that are uninteresting with very little development given, the predictable twists only add to the disappointing features. From a filming point of view, I feel many edits have been cut poorly along with those out of focus shots. For horror fans across the world, this is will leave you feeling deeply disappointed inside.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden