Heiress’ tale fails to fire

Southern Telegraph - - Lifestyle - Winch­ester Re­view: Cecilia Allen

Aus­tralian brothers Michael and Peter Spierigs’ new film, Winch­ester, is a loose adap­ta­tion of the true story of Sarah Winch­ester, heiress to the firearms for­tune, which fails to make its sub­ject in­ter­est­ing and of­fers noth­ing more than a few pre­dictable jump scares.

Ac­cord­ing to the lore, Sarah be­lieved her fam­ily to be cursed by the vic­tims of Winch­ester ri­fles and, upon the ad­vice of a spir­i­tual medium, moved across the coun­try to build a seven-story mansion to house the ghosts that haunted her.

Con­struc­tion con­tin­ued around the clock, from 1884 un­til Sarah’s death in 1922.

The Winch­ester Mys­tery House — still stand­ing in San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia — is made up of hall­ways and stair­wells that go nowhere and doors that open into thin air. It is seem­ingly the per­fect set­ting for a ghost story.

Ja­son Clarke plays Eric Price, a psy­chi­a­trist with a tor­tured past hired by Winch­ester Re­peat­ing Arms to prove Sarah, played by academy award-win­ner He­len Mir­ren, is too mad to main­tain her 51 per cent of the com­pany’s hold­ing ef­fec­tively.

When things start to go bump in the night, Eric be­gins to in­ves­ti­gate the trou­bled life of the house­hold, be­com­ing more ac­quainted with Sarah and the pos­si­bil­ity her claims the house may be haunted are true.

A few of the film’s sto­ry­lines feel like they’ve been slapped in to bring the film to a rea­son­able run­ning time.

Even the act­ing tal­ents of Clarke and Mir­ren are not enough to keep the crum­bling script afloat.

He­len Mir­ren as Sarah Winch­ester in the film Winch­ester.

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