Winchester

Out Now On-Demand

Terror is building.

Helen Mirren is haunted firearm heiress Sarah Winchester in this mystery thriller from the Speirig brothers (Jigsaw, Predestination).

Sarah Winchester (Mirren) is convinced that she is haunted by the souls killed at the hands of the Winchester repeating rifle. After the sudden deaths of her husband and child, she throws herself into the construction of an enormous mansion designed to keep the evil spirits at bay. But when skeptical San Francisco psychiatrist Eric Price (Jason Clarke, Everest) is dispatched to the estate to evaluate her state of mind, he discovers that her obsession may not be so insane after all.

Trailers

Written by

Horror, Mystery, Thriller, True Story & Biography

99mins

Rating: M Supernatural themes & violence

USA, Australia

Aaron-Yap2

Aaron Yap

flicks

In retrospect, the brief spark of ingenuity that the Spierig Brothers exhibited in 2014’s lovably loopy Predestination probably had more to do with the conceptual ballsiness of Robert A. Heinlein’s source text than anything. With a recent lacklustre attempt at franchise revival in Jigsaw, and now this goofy ghost thriller, it’s become even clearer that they’re the undistinguished genre travellers that they’ve always been: clearly big, avid fans of sci-fi and horror, with little of consummate craft nor consistent vision of their heroes.

Winchester is based on a true story of such bizarre circumstance it’s hard not to be somewhat curious. An eccentric rifle heiress with a connection to the spirit world. A haunted, maze-like Victorian mansion she kept renovating and constructing for nearly four decades. The combination of architectural weirdness and a mystifying historical character, delivered in a hot-button firearms-themed narrative, should’ve made for a unique, even potent, supernatural period piece. But Winchester is largely pedestrian, a things-go-bump-fest that’s milder than a trip to Spookers.

Jason Clarke, more comfortable as burly, square-jawed, militaristic men, feels ill-suited to playing Sarah Winchester’s booze-breathed psychiatrist, who unfortunately gets a substantial, and awfully dull, share of the plot. Where she pops up, Helen Mirren lends an air of respectability and a welcome dose of camp to the warmed-over material. Sidelining her might not have been such an issue if the Spierigs had done justice to the film’s next best asset: the house itself. Budgetary constraints aside, the labyrinthine geography of the mansion is poorly communicated, sapping much allure from its bounty of potentially atmospheric spaces.

Variety (USA)

press

Sarah may not be crazy, but the film seems slightly nuts.

Hollywood Reporter

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Winchester draws on a fascinating true story but then simplifies and sensationalises it to fit creaky, clunky horror conventions.

Empire (UK)

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Despite an intriguing premise, Winchester misses the mark. Its anti-gun message is a shot in the right direction, but lazy fright tactics and a contradictory ending leave it firing blanks.

Total Film (UK)

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There's a great film to be made out of the Winchester story, but sadly this isn't it.

The Guardian (UK)

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A staggeringly pointless supernatural non-chiller featuring some very tiresome jump scares.

Los Angeles Times

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Having laid out an unusually intricate and politically charged puzzle, "Winchester" proceeds to solve it in the clunkiest, most perfunctory way imaginable.

New York Times

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Ho-hum apparitions appear and disappear without a trace. Ms. Mirren and her representatives are probably hoping the movie will do likewise.

Rolling Stone

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It shouldn't happen to anyone, much less a Dame - not a movie of such barreling awfulness that it strands the great Helen Mirren in a gothic house of cards that collapses on actors and audiences alike.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

The Exorcist this ain't.

FilmInk (Australia)

press

You’d think this was a surefire success. Sadly, you’d be wrong.

Beautiful

I’m so glad someone finally made a movie about this story. Well scripted, nicely place all of the fact about her and house together in the movie. Lovely gesture to show her photographs (only few exist) at the start and end of the movie.


Its a beautifully shot banal film

I don't believe its based on truth, yes she exists and the house exists but its a story spun by those selling tours to the Winchester Mystery House. As a film its pretty but lacking, like so many horror films if you don't make the audience care for the characters why watch. There is nothing original and the ending is so obvious. I had more fun watching my teenage daughter hide from anything remotely scary as she cursed me making her come with me. Probably wouldn't have come had I not won the tickets.

Bayly

Bayly

user


Winchester Review

Like Most 'Insidious' Movies Winchester is not that enjoyable for Horror Lovers (Like Me).

But It does Bring Some Good Jump scares to the Silver Screen.

SweetP

SweetP

user


MADE ME JUMP..

but sadly Winchester was like that staircase: it went nowhere. Interesting that it was based on true events and now I would like to know more about the Winchester house. Helen Mirren as always was great.

Hugo-Burns

Hugo

user


More like Lose-chester

Having the sound drown out then explode into a jumpscare isn't frightening in the slightest and is lazily exploiting a natural human reaction and masquerading as 'horror'. Couple that with Jason Clarke who amazingly is able to match Jai Courtney and Sam Worthington in terms of blandness and a story that doesn't surprise or intrigue and what you get is a 90 minute thrill ride with out the thrills and feels about 3 hours. Sarah Snook does her best.

carrs

carrs

user


Few scary jumps with a good story

I would say this movie is more a thriller than a horror but enjoyed the story as it kept me interested till the end, worth going to see

MariaC

MariaC

user


Not bad

Thankfully after the women stopped talking in the Flicks Preview, 30 minutes into the movie - I started to enjoy it. Definitely a lot more jumpy moments than the other thriller movies out there. Some ridiculous far-fetched scenes but I'd recommend it - there's far worse out there!


More of the house would be prefered

A house with about 100 rooms was not well represented in this film. Jump scares added little and the story was sparse.


Loved all the jump frights

I thought this was done really well, lots of scares which I find I don't normally get from horror movies. Had some good facts at the end for those that don't have a background to Sarah Winchester at all


Good for some Quick Frights

Helen Mirren gives a solid performance in Winchester. But it's still not quite enough to carry the movie across the line. The story-line was passable, but the plethora of cheap frights became annoying after a while. Some interesting ideas are explored, but I was a little disappointed with the film, as a whole.

The scariest part of this movie is the fact that it is "inspired by actual events". But I would save my money and wait for the next Insidious installment.