By: Hawk Ripjaw –
There’s an interesting dilemma for Winchester, in regards to the title. On the one hand, you can keep the stupid-ass original title Winchester: The House that Ghosts Built. On the other hand, you can nix that subtitle, like the filmmakers did, and be mistaken for a theatrical Supernatural movie, like it is now. You can’t win. Further complicating things is the fact that the Spierig Brothers are at the helm of this, and it represents a weird, frustrating decline in their projects of choice. After starting out with the pretty-great Daybreakers and the mostly-excellent Predestination, they went on to do Jigsaw, which was still the exact same stale Saw flavor that we got to unwrap seven years later. Winchester stars Helen Mirren (for no particular reason) and Jason Clarke (who weirdly seems to have fallen off of the radar after Terminator Genisys barring a couple of small projects and Mudbound).
Winchester frustrates me. One thing the Spierig Brothers do is make good-looking films, and this looks like it has a slick look to it. It’s also about the Winchester Mystery House, which is actually pretty cool: a woman, haunted by paranoia of evil spirits, has endless rooms, unfinished corridors, and dead-end doorways commissioned in order to ward off the spirits. There are a couple of directions you could take this: You can make a creepy, atmospheric horror film that utilizes the bizarre architecture of the house to play into some fun, unknown scares. You could also make it all psychological, with one woman’s guilt just driving her more and more miserable as she pours money into a project no one has any faith in, kind of like my day-to-day life. OR you could make a loud, generic, see-you-on-Netflix-in-four-months horror film that puts 100% of its stock into jump scares. Watch the trailer. That shit is nothing but jump scares about to happen. Why does anyone still think this is an effective tactic?
Still….I really like the Winchester Mystery House so I’m tempted.