“Winchester” is Surprisingly Good and a Treat for Horror Fans


Matthew Jonas

The Spierig Brothers, who also directed films such as “Predestination” and “Jigsaw”, have teamed up again to bring the supernatural horror film “Winchester” for the first time onto our theater screens.


“Winchester” begins with Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren) trying to deal with both her husband’s, William’s, and her child, Annie’s deaths. Winchester is convinced that she is being haunted by the ghosts of those who were killed by Winchester firearms. After seeking help from a medium, Winchester commences building a gigantic mansion in San Jose, California that would be eventually called the Winchester Mystery House. In 1906, the Winchester company hires doctor Eric Price (Jason Clarke) to evaluate Sarah believing that she is not mentally fit enough to remain in charge of the company. Eric then enters the house where he meets an indifferent Marion Marriott (Sarah Snook). After an edgy dinner with Sarah, Marion, and Henry Marriott (Finn Scicluna-O’Prey), Marion’s son, the group returns to their rooms for the night. The next day, Eric begins to perform his assessment of Sarah’s mental stability. Eric discovers that Sarah has a genuine fear of ghosts and that she believes that she can help them pass on to the next world. The day after, Eric visits Marion, who doesn’t believe in ghosts like Sarah does. During their conversation, a possessed Henry attempts to murder Sarah with a rifle from the armory, before being stopped by Eric and Marion. Despite Eric’s determined attempts to take Henry to the doctor, Sarah goes to confront the spirit who had possessed Henry. Soon, Eric meets with Sarah and identify the ghost as Benjamin Block (Eamon Farren) who was a confederate soldier who had lost both of his brothers during the Civil War, and who was killed by the bullets of Winchester rifles. It’s revealed that Ben has been the spirit who was possessing Henry, and that the armory was where Ben was shot dead when he perpetrated the shooting. As they speak, the infamous 1906 San Francisco earthquake suddenly occurs, which unlocks all of the doors of many imprisoned spirits’ rooms. After getting both assisted and attacked by some spirits, Eric joins with Sarah and they manage to corner Ben in the room. Meanwhile, Henry and Marion are surrounded by Ben’s brothers down in the basement. After being viciously attacked by Ben, the pair realize that Ben fears a certain bullet that Eric had kept and that Eric has been able to see ghosts due to him actually dying briefly before. Eric uses the bullet in Ben’s Winchester Rifle in order to expel Ben himself. Marion and Henry are then saved as all of the other spirits return to their respective rooms. Eric pronounces Sarah sane, and allows her to remain in control of her company, before he bids farewell to the house. Sarah then intends to build more rooms for the house in order to help more spirits. As the house is being fixed, however, a single nail falls out one of the boards confining a spirit in the room.


The Spierig Brothers have created quite a unique and fascinating film which, for all of its minor bumps and misfires, manages to be both suspenseful and thought-provoking at the same time. For example, the scene where Henry gets possessed by Ben for the first time is very well crafted and does a great job in keeping the audience on edge. The true scariest thing about the film “Winchester” is that it is based on real events. That’s exactly what the word “horror” in a horror film means, since there is always a possibility, however small, that terrible situations depicted in such movies might come true.