The film Winchester, directed by Michael and Peter Spierig, is a haunted house movie that is inspired by the true story of Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren), who is the heiress to the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, which was left to her by her late husband, William Winchester. After the death of her husband and child, Sarah believes that her house is haunted by the ghosts of the people who have been killed by her husband’s creation.
Set in 1906 San Diego, Sarah has built a house that she continues to build upon with no real rhyme or reason, except for appeasing spirits. When the trustees of her late husband’s company question the validity of her claims, they attempt to have her sanity evaluated by a psychologist. The psychologist that is chosen is a Dr. Eric Price (Jason Clarke), who at first is hesitant, but after being made an offer that was impossible to decline, he reluctantly accepts. Clark is a person who has been battling his own demons, including addiction to opiates that he uses to deal with the death of his wife.
At the Winchester Mansion, the audience is introduced to Sarah’s family member Marian Mariott (Sarah Snook), who lives with her elderly matriarch with her son, Henry (Finn Scicluna-O’Prey). It is found that Henry has been acting strangely, and seems to be possessed by some sort of otherworldly entity. While attempting to psychoanalyze Sarah, he begins to realize that she is also sizing him up. As Dr. Price begins to see the ghosts, his assessment predispositions of Sarah begin to change. As he finds out that Sarah has been adding the rooms due to a desire to give the ghosts closure after their brutal deaths from her namesake’s company, he begins to investigate the creepy goings on in the mansion.
The movie is a lazy attempt to capitalize on some of the recent ghost movies (which also claim to be based on true events) that have gotten relatively good reviews and have done well at the box office, including The Conjuring movies and Annabelle. The film relies on jump scares through the beginning scenes, but then fails to really bring any sort of fear that the concept definitely could have used. The acting is subpar, and none of the characters have any real likeability. The true story of the Winchester Mystery House is fascinating, and many people believe that there is definitely supernatural activity in the house, but the film fails to capture any of the imagination that definitely could have improved the story.
All in all, this film is not worth the time of watching. The scariest part of the movie if the fact that after a little more than an hour and half, there is no desire to watch another minute.