* * C
Winchester is a horror film that claims to be based on real events. Dr. Eric Price (Jason Clarke) is hired by the Winchester rifle company to assess the mental health of its majority owner, Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren). She allows him to stay with her in her ramshackle mansion in California, along with her niece Marion (Sarah Snook) and Marion’s young son.
Price soon discovers that the mansion, which is under 24 hour construction, is as disturbing as the woman he has been sent to assess. When Marion’s son attempts to jump to his death and Price saves him, Winchester opens up to Price, revealing the reason for her bizarre behavior. At first, he is skeptical, but evidence mounts that something uncanny is afoot in the mansion.
This period piece (set in 1906) is well crafted, and the acting is solid. My biggest problem with it is that there is a lack of tension between belief and disbelief. The first act is suitably creepy, but the third act degenerates into a mere action pic. Though watchable, this film is forgettable, and doesn’t live up to its potential.