While watching “Winchester” I experienced a wide range of emotions that left me wholly unsure of exactly how I felt about the movie. It focuses on widow and majority shareholder of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) and her ever-growing house. The movie begins with a spooky opening scene that sets the feel for the rest of the movie. We then meet Eric Price (Jason Clarke) who leads us through the remainder of the movie. Price is a doctor with both a drug and depression problem who was sent to the Winchester mansion to evaluate Sarah Winchester’s mental ability to run the company. He soon learns that the widow believes the souls of people killed with Winchester rifles haunt the house until she helps them finish their business by building the room where they died. Sarah is the only one who can truly sense the spirits until one gets violent and wants revenge on the Winchester family.
Although I initially liked the climax, I feel like it and the plot fell short. I’m fine with movies that want to make a political statement, but I felt like “Winchester” was overly anti-gun, especially for a movie that focuses on a famous rifle company. It is one thing for the widow to feel remorse over the deaths caused by the guns, but it’s another to have her vehemently hate guns to the point where they are not allowed in her home. There was also too much exposition, but the movie was written in a way that it was needed to further the plot, which I consider a plot hole.
As an avid horror fan, I appreciated the returning elements of horror some of which had a take more eerie than I’ve seen, but many of them were the same overdone scares used in most horror movies. I loved the characters, visuals and the overall story, and despite great surprises later in the movie, “Winchester” just fell short. It tried to hard to be scary and left the plot neglected. When it ended I was left feeling like there was something missing, and the fact that they left it open for a sequel only furthered my mixed feelings.
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