Bad Foundation: WINCHESTER (2018) Review

A doctor travels to the Winchester mansion in order to evaluate the sanity of Sarah Winchester, and whether she can continue to run the Winchester family company. Claiming that her house is haunted and her family is cured, the doctor disbelieves her claims until he begins to witness her encounters first hand.

My expectations for this film weren’t very high. I wasn’t sold by the trailer at all, but I knew that having Helen Mirren involved would be at least some silver lining. While she was indeed the silver lining to this movie, she really didn’t get a whole lot to do. This movie is so dull, boring, thinly-written, and uninspired. This plays itself out more with drama than a horror. It throws in the whole dramatic concept of grief that’s been done before numerous times, but done way better. On top of that, the script throws in emphasis on gun control. When it comes to the horror, it’s completely void of any real scares or thrills. Any of this it does have is so cliché and ridiculous it’s laughable. When it comes to the script, it’s so thin with very little going on with almost no real plot or plot development, the same can be said about its characters, they’re extremely uninteresting and undeveloped. The niece and great nephew of Mirren’s character might as well not even exist because of how pointless they basically were with no development. Had this been primarily about Mirren’s character, which that alone would have been better. That said, Mirren’s character is the only real interesting character, but of course they go and not give her nearly as much attention as she should have gotten. Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke are definitely giving it their all with little material they have, but as mentioned, it’s a shame Mirren didn’t have more to do. Apart from Mirren and Clarke’s dedicated performances, the only other positive is that it uses its production design to its advantage. The setting of the Winchester house is great and well-used, but I do wish we had seen more of it.

Unless you’re dedicated Helen Mirren fan, I say stay away from this film. It’s the most boring, poorly written, and uninspired horror movie I’ve seen in a while. Everything about it is so cheesy and cliché from the dramatic elements to the horror. Despite Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke, it’s not enough to really save this movie.

–Cody Landman