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温 彻 斯 特 鬼 屋

Opening Date
08 Feb 2018
PG13 Horror
100 mins
English - subtitles to be advised
Biography, History, Horror
Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Helen Mirren, Sarah, Snook, Jason Clarke
Inspired by true events. On an isolated stretch of land 50 miles outside of San Francisco sits the most haunted house in the world. Built by Sarah Winchester (Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren), heiress to the Winchester fortune, it is a house that knows no end. Constructed in an incessant twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week mania for decades, it stands seven stories tall and contains hundreds of rooms. To the outsider it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman’s madness. But Sarah is not building for herself, for her niece (Sarah Snook) or for the troubled Doctor Eric Price (Jason Clarke) whom she has summoned to the house. She is building a prison, an asylum for hundreds of vengeful ghosts, and the most terrifying among them have a score to settle with the Winchesters...
By Jason Lin  07 Feb 2018
If it is not scary enough to have films about haunted houses, Winchester is set in one of America’s most haunted houses – the Winchester Mystery House.
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If it is not scary enough to have films about haunted houses, Winchester is set in one of America’s most haunted houses – the Winchester Mystery House. With close to a hundred different rooms fabricated from non-stop construction work orders by residence owner Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren), The Spierig Brothers’ film has a strong premise with the actual life events that it is based on.
The beginning third of the film shrouds mystery around Mrs. Winchester. Seen only via eerie moments of her fleeting about in a black Victorian dress and veil within the house, the audience is misled into thinking that Mrs. Winchester is the antagonist. Upon first entry into the Winchester Mystery House, viewers immediately turn their focus to the house.
The Spierig Brothers (who directed last year’s Jigsaw) went on about their scary business by arranging for a stranger to spend some nights at the Winchester Mystery House. This translates into the assignment of psychiatrist Eric Price (Jason Clarke) to evaluate the mental state of Mrs. Winchester. The Board wishes to determine if she is fit to run the Winchester Repeating Arms Company that her deceased husband left her with.
As observed in a couple of elaborate scare scenes in the first half of the film (especially the one involving a face mirror), expectations are raised as the audience ventures deeper into the house and its secrets revealed by its residents. Mrs. Winchester’s niece Marian Marriott (Sarah Snook) had a palpable presence in the film that was unfortunately left to waste instead of wielding it to heighten genre tensions and narrative.
Building a case around victims killed by guns in a house owned by a firearm enterprise naturally reminds one of the issue on gun violence. Much like how the filmmakers didn’t make good use of the concept of a multi-room haunted house, the message was not clearly delivered if ever intended. Instead, the technique of using 13 nails to seal vengeful spirits within rooms are featured with little impact.
Less for the first couple of scares, the remaining horror ammunitions that Michael and Peter Spierig had for its audience are sadly cheap shots of blatant boos. The production design by Matthew Putland is one of the notable highlights of the film besides the functional soundtrack by Peter Spierig.
At the end of it all, it induces one to question if the 90-minute Winchester or the actual 90-room Winchester Mystery House is more intriguing and worth one’s time to explore.
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