After the first 30 minutes of Winchester, I asked myself, are The Spierig Brothers broke? These are the dudes who made Daybreakers, a movie that most found average but I really enjoyed, and Predestination, the movie that made everyone go, “The Spierig Brothers are hot shit!” Then they went on to helm that “Saw” sequel nonsense and now they’re back at the helm of another shitty jumpscare fest horror movie that no one should watch (and hopefully no one will watch).
I took a bullet for you guys. This is a movie that screams, “We’re making this movie because we have outstanding credit card bills.” What makes it worse is the fact that ‘they’ dragged Academy Award-winning star, Helen Mirren and ‘quite-good’ Jason Clarke into this mess.
I’m finding it difficult to recall what exactly this movie is about. While I knock my head against the wall repeatedly in an attempt to remember the premise of this movie, you can check out this dude’s reaction when the tree falls.
Okay… This is the part where I attempt to tell you the gist of the story.
Dr. Eric Price, a drug addict doctor is sent to the Winchester mansion to investigate whether or not Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) is crazy because she claims she can see ghosts. And then loud music and random creepy images and 2 756 324 jumpscares.
Note: the number of jumpscares stated is a mild estimate.
There are also some supporting characters whose names I don’t remember because whose characterizations are nonexistent. There is a kid and his mom, both who showcase less personality than a freshly painted white wall and are there solely as plot devices.
Winchester is one of those movies where characters tell each other that things are dangerous and scary but as an audience member, you don’t feel the dangers nor the thrills. We’re told that the house has hundreds of rooms and is a confusing labyrinth, but we don’t see that. We don’t feel suffocated like we’re stuck in a tight maze, desperate to escape. In a movie titled Winchester, the Winchester house should be a character of its own. Here, The Spierig Brothers occasionally show us room-filled corridors and staircases that lead to nowhere, but for the most part, the Winchester mansion feels ordinary.
The storytelling is predictable and the climax is routine. The two talented co-leads give it their all, but it’s not enough to save us from the terrible writing of the characters they’re embodying. Why is Sarah Winchester dressed like a wannabe goth chick and walking in slow motion? Who knows. Why is the ghost repeatedly making the boy sleepwalk without killing him when its goal is killing him? Don’t ask me.
The best horror movies always have something interesting to say, whether it’s a commentary on racism as seen in Get Out or perhaps even a discourse on depression like in The Babadook. Winchester has something important to say too: Dame Helen should seriously consider firing her agent.
The best horror movies in the world always have something interesting to say. Winchester has something important to say too: Dame Helen should seriously consider firing her agent.