It’s getting savaged by the commoner critics, not surprisingly. Friends, I will say it again, and keep on saying it, in hopes that people will listen and heed my words. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER listen to a commoner movie critic when it comes to a genre picture, ESPECIALLY a Horror movie. Commoners are not qualified. Commoners do not “get” it. Stick with the geek sites, the ones that specialize in the genres. And what have the major Horror sites had to say about WINCHESTER? Reviews have been mostly positive, with minor caveats. The biggest of these that I’ve encountered I will deal with right now. I have read complaints that the movie is too short, too thin, that the life of Sarah Winchester demands more attention than it was given onscreen. This is true, or would be, if the film were a biopic. It is not. It is a Horror movie. It is the story of the House. As one reviewer put it, the House is the real star, even more than Oscar-winner Helen Mirren. And indeed it is.
How much of this “based on a true story” is actually true? About half, I’d say.
As a Horror film based about 50% on a factual story, then, how does WINCHESTER fare? What does THIS genre-specializing geek site have to say about it?
I say: GO AND SEE THIS MOVIE.
Yes, there are familiar tropes: jump scares, shadows crossing in front of the camera, ghostly faces suddenly appearing in keyholes, mirrors, etc. But I don’t mind the familiar notes if they are played competently, and here they are played with proficiency. Brothers Michael and Peter Spierig (the recent JIGSAW) deserve props for both writing and directing. As for the acting, well, they’ve got Helen Mirren. That says it all. But there is excellent supporting work from Jason Clark (DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES), lovely Aussie actress Sarah Snook, and Eamon Farren (the magnificent CHAINED and lately of TWIN PEAKS). But again, the main attraction is the House. And its ghosts. And WINCHESTER delivers plenty of both. I left the theater a satisfied Monsterkid. Grade: A+.