Starring Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke “Winchester,” is an historical drama loosely based on the true story of Sarah Winchester, heiress to the firearms fortune, who was born 1840 and died in 1922. The film is also a throwback to the way horror films frightened us in the 1960s without the torture and gore we have come to expect today.
The directors, Peter and Michael Spierig (who made “Jigsaw”), also wrote the script and the movie was shot in Australia. The action is set in 1906. Helen Mirren stars as Sarah Winchester, a very wealthy woman who maintains her mansion in San Jose, California, in an ongoing state of construction. She had bought it with enough space to keep adding rooms and stories to it, resulting in a house full of hidden passageways and blind corridors and staircases. A San Francisco doctor, Eric Price is in mourning for his late wife, Ruby and finds he is summoned by an unscrupulous businessman named Gates for an odd job. Gates represents the owners of a half-interest in the Winchester firm; Price is to be dispatched to Sarah Winchester’s mansion to become acquainted with her, and then to issue a report as to her mental fitness to run the firm.
(Price is, of course, meant to judge her unsound, so that Gates’ employers can lay hold of her shares.) Arriving at the mansion he finds it to be run on rigid rules with Sarah’s niece, Marian and her young son Henry staying with her, and Henry seems to have fallen prey to the house’s curse, he’s possessed of impulses that range from mean to self-destructive. But, as Eric ingratiates himself into the troubled life of the household he also becomes acquainted with Sarah herself and it’s when he prowls around, late at night, in parts of the house that he’s told are off-limits, that the movie gets into action and he discovers Sarah’s connection with the spirits of the victims of deaths from the use of Winchester firearms. She keeps an ever-growing file of newspaper clippings about gun killings and it’s the spirits of those victims who are guiding her as she documents through Starring Scott Adkins and Ray Stevenson We meet Mike Fallon drawings their deaths. With last week’s school shooting in the US this film becomes very political about the national curse of firearms and the violence they cause.
Rated M 7 out of 10