Written by / 2/05/2018 / No comments / , , , , , ,

HELEN MIRRIN & JASON CLARKE STARRING IN 'WINCHESTER'

The Winchester Mansion rendering YEAR RELEASED: 2018
One of those "Based on a True Story" movies that's really based on a real person whose story, taking place in turn-of-the-century San Jose, California, was never proven...

In this case, Sarah Winchester, an old clad-in-dark-veiled lady who's the heir of the Winchester Repeating Rifle fortune, has construction workers building and rebuilding her mansion to allow ghosts that... oh you know... have unsettled business, a device that, at this point, is tremendously cliché. Although as a standard-spooky horror flick it's not entirely awful, but it goes far overboard on the sudden face appearing at the screen jolt that's very commonplace nowadays...

Score: **1/2
You can say these flashing images make and break the picture since no other brand of scare is ever relied upon. The buried lead is Jason Clarke (who's always pretty good) as Dr. Rice, addicted to a syrupy drug and having been called upon... he soon learns... personally by Sarah in order to provide an analysis if she's insane, or sane enough to keep the business... And that's the hook. If the doctor (and viewer) believes all this obvious hokum is true, then she's not crazy. If not...

This Movie is Haunted
The all-important, Oscar-winning (and perhaps slightly overrated) Helen Mirren seems to float above a dignified safety net, never fully savoring the genre the way perhaps a less important actress would to prove her worth. Making Clarke, whose constant reactions to the frantic wraiths abounding, has far more merit (and development) to invest in...

The eventual twist belongs solely to him since the plot about ghosts seeking revenge on the guns that killed them is right up front: Almost as if the current gun-control advocates pieced together their very own SHINING to back the omnipresent theory that guns are always to blame, not people (who are vulnerable humans, not deadly machines!).

It would have been a much longer picture had the souls sought vengeance on those who actually used the particular weapon(s). And since the giant manor, with mazy levels shrouded in a sort of Gothic, old school haunted house aesthetic, lacks the kind of eerie and horrifying malevolence it promises from the onset, then WINCHESTER would have fared better being less claustrophobic. If, as the saying goes, the setting is "a character in itself," The Mansion's performance is as ultimately hollow and underwhelming as Madame/Dame Winchester.
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