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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Spierig Brothers
Cast:
Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, Sarah Snook
Writing Credits:
Tom Vaughan, Spierig Brothers

Synopsis:
Ensconced in her sprawling California mansion, eccentric firearm heiress Sarah Winchester believes she is haunted by the souls of people killed by the Winchester repeating rifle.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$9,307,626 on 2480 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$25,091,816.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 99 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 5/1/2018

Bonus:
• “Driven By the Spirits” Featurette
• Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


Winchester [Blu-Ray] (2018)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 17, 2018)

Unlike most actors, Helen Mirren grew more famous and successful as she aged. Now in her 70s, Mirren gets the lead role for 2018’s Winchester, a supernatural horror tale.

Set in 1906, Sarah Winchester (Mirren) resides in an enormous San Jose mansion that she commissioned. An heiress, she benefits from all the money generated from the Winchester firearms company.

This comes back to haunt Sarah – literally, as Sarah believes that the ghosts of those killed by Winchester weapons stalk her in her sprawling home, a place she continually constructs for her own supernatural mission. Dr. Eric Price (Jason Clarke) gets the assignment to assess Sarah’s psychological state and he finds himself drawn into her situation.

On the face of things, Winchester boasts two positives, and these start with an overqualified cast. Mirren remains a great talent who often elevates the material, and Clarke adds a strong collaborator.

In addition, the nature of the film’s historical setting acts as a plus. As noted on Wikipedia, “the Queen Anne Style Victorian mansion is renowned for its size, its architectural curiosities, and its lack of any master building plan”. That makes the home a more exotic location than a smaller, more normal abode, and the crazed nature of the building means it could – and should – add to the drama.

But it doesn’t, mainly because Winchester fails to explore its set in a compelling way. The film establishes a few specifics that inevitably come back to play a role, but it doesn’t use these in a creative way.

Really, while the mansion differs from the norm, the movie itself plays out in a decidedly traditional manner. It tends to follow the “haunted house” standard without much to veer away from the crowd, factors that lead the film to become plodding and predictable.

As talented as they may be, the actors don’t give Winchester much zing either. I like Mirren a lot, and I think Clarke tends to add depth to his films, but neither finds themselves with much to allow them to excel.

This means the actors feel stuck in neutral. While I won’t claim Mirren, Clarke or any of the others offer weak performances, they seem a bit flat and don’t seem engaged by the material.

I can’t blame them, as Winchester delivers a relentlessly pedestrian experience. Essentially little more than a draggy conglomeration of horror clichés, the movie disappoints.


The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

Winchester appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer presented the film in a generally appealing manner.

Sharpness looked good for the most part, but some inconsistency materialized. Occasional shots looked softer than expected, but these remained infrequent, so the majority of the flick showed fine clarity and accuracy.

Jaggies and shimmering failed to distract, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie also lacked any source flaws and was consistently clean.

In terms of colors, Winchester went with standard orange and teal most of the time. The hues never stood out as memorable, but they were fine for this story’s choices.

Blacks were pretty deep, and shadows were well-depicted – an important factor given the potentially murky interior settings. The image offered a “B” presentation.

As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it lacked a ton of ambition, though I didn’t view that as a flaw. A story like this came heavy on ambience and light on opportunities for fireworks, so the absence of showy sequences failed to become a problem.

When the action heated up, however, the mix reflected that and used the spectrum well. Music filled the various channels in a satisfying manner, and effects fleshed out the spectrum in a logical way. Nothing dazzled but the mix seemed suitable for the material.

Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, while effects remained accurate and full-bodied.

Music was vibrant and dynamic. While this was never an especially memorable track, it worked for the story.

Called Driven By the Spirits: The Making of Winchester, a featurette goes for 22 minutes, 14 seconds. It includes comments from writers/directors Michael and Peter Spierig, producers Tim McGahan and Brett Tomberlin, co-writer Tom Vaughan, costume designer Wendy Cork, production designer Matthew Putland, and actors Helen Mirren, Jason Clarke, Sarah Snook, Angus Sampson, and Eamon Farren.

“Driven” looks at historical elements, story and characters, cast and performances, costumes and period details, sets/locations, the logistics of a production with two directors, stunts and effects. While not the deepest program I’ve seen, “Driven” works pretty well, especially when it looks at attempts to recapture the historical components.

The disc opens with ads for The Commuter, American Assassin, Patriots Day, and Flight 7500. No trailer for Winchester shows up here.

Even with talents like Helen Mirren involved, Winchester stands as nothing more than a trite, predictable haunted house tale. It uses all the old tropes and fails to create a fresh horror experience. The Blu-ray brings us generally good picture and audio along with minor bonus materials. The movie fails to engage.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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