Sunday, February 4, 2018

Winchester - Movie Review

The Movie: Winchester

The Directors: Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig

The Cast: Helen Mirren, Sarah Snook, Jason Clarke, Angus Sampson, Bruce Spence, Laura Brent, Eamon Farren, Finn Scicluna-O'Prey, Tyler Coppin

The Story: Eccentric firearm heiress believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle.

The Review:
Yes, the Winchester house actually exists and there are lots of creepy stories both about the house and Mrs. Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) but of course, they are all just made up fictions. Or are they? While the movie is technically fiction, it digs pretty deep into the paranormal stories and hauntings that a lot of people believe actually took place inside this uniquely designed mansion back in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The House, recreated on sound stages for filming, is definitely creepy in the movie and the Spierig brothers do a great job of making you think there might be something, or someone around every corner and hiding behind any piece of furniture in the rooms.

From start to finish, the movie is filled with a sense of dread and uneasiness which is a very effective way to set up the audience for the eventual jump scares and thrilling moments you are hoping for. It was interesting to watch Helen Mirren in this type of setting as I don't believe she has ever dipped into the horror genre before. As always, she handles herself beautifully and was probably the perfect choice to play this role as it suits her to a tee while also giving us something we haven't seen from her in any other type of film.

Playing opposite is Jason Clarke as a doctor who is tasked with giving a psychological evaluation while dealing with some personal demons of his own. I have always felt that Clarke has been underrated as an actor and he one again proves that here with yet another strong and steady performance. It was also fun to see Angus Sampson in a supporting role. He has been a genre favorite of mine ever since I first took notice of him in 100 Bloody Acres back in 2013 as well as having a key role in the Insidious franchise.

Also, a bit of movie trivia for you. Angus Sampson had a small role in Mad Max: Fury Road which is significant because Bruce Spence, who plays a super creepy butler in this movie, was in both Mad Max 2 and Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. To further the connection, supporting actor Tyler Coppin also had a small role in Mad Max 2.

The Verdict:
Winchester is a creepy, haunting horror movie that thrills and scares while making you wonder how much of the story is actually true. The story is interesting, the acting is solid, and the scares are pretty legit so definitely give it a shot.

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