‘Winchester’ fails to deliver a fright


Helen Mirren stars as Sarah Winchester. CBS Films Website Photo

Angel Ortega

“Winchester” had the potential to be a decent horror film, but its overuse of clichés makes it one of the most disappointing horror films of the year.

In terms of commercial success at the box office, horror movies are the current zeitgeist of the film industry. Many of 2017’s most successful movies were horror or thrillers, including “It” and “Get Out.” However, with so many horror movies being released every year, there is little room for originality in the genre.

“Winchester” did seem to be a refreshing departure from the direction that many of its contemporaries follow in the horror genre, given the complex and intriguing history behind the Winchester House. However, it failed to deliver a suspenseful thriller with a narrative that felt rushed and unfinished by its writers.

The film follows Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren), co-owner of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company and heiress to the Winchester fortune. After the death of her child and husband, grief consumes Winchester. She builds the notorious mystery house in San Jose out of guilt and creates a master plan of the house with no sense of direction to act as a spiritual asylum for the souls who were killed by Winchester rifles and muskets.

The beginning of the film showed promise and potential that “Winchester” would be a decent thriller. The character development of Winchester and Eric Price (Jason Clarke) was well written to create interesting characters with distinct personalities.

The film incorporated many elements of the true history of the Winchester House to establish the setting and the historical context of the film.

Although the film had some good aspects in creating a captivating narrative and characters, the good elements of “Winchester” do not overshadow the flaws in this movie.

If there is one thing that made this film go from “decent” to “mediocre,” it is its use of one cliché that has plagued many horror films in the past: jump scares.

“Winchester” is littered with jump scares. Most of the jump scares were very predictable, creating no sense of dread in the audience. The overuse of jump scares also diluted any sense of suspense that the directors were attempting to evoke with this film.

Although the first half of the film was entertaining, the climax is where the narrative of the film took a downturn.

Once the film reached the climax, many elements of the plot began to fall apart. The falling action and the resolution felt rushed and poorly written by the writers.

Although it is not known whether the script was rushed or not, many continuity errors arose due to the poor delivery and execution of the climax.

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.