The reviews for Winchester are in, and it looks like Helen Mirren's new horror movie is a complete and total misfire. It's directed by identical twin brothers Peter and Michael Spierig, who previously helmed the highly underrated 2014 thriller, Predestination. They followed that up with last year's disappointingly blah-tastic Saw franchise sequel, Jigsaw, and unfortunately, it looks like Winchester has more in common with their more recent effort.
Despite a screen-worthy, real life tale from which to draw from, a talented cast (highlighted by Mirren and co-star Jason Clarke), and a handful of promising teasers, Winchester falls well short of expectations.
Winchester Mystery House may be one of the most famous haunted houses on the planet, but the only scary thing about Winchester is its Rotten Tomatoes score. Rest assured that it’s more than earned its 8% score. Read on for the Most Brutal Reviews Of Winchester.
Not even Helen Mirren's glares can save this screamingly bad poltergeist pile-up. -- Daily Telegraph (UK)
Mirren does her best to bring some gravitas to the role, although I’m not sure that’s what it needed. She may have been the Queen, but she’s no scream queen. Nor does she give it the whole Miss Havisham scary-spinster camp. It needed a bit more Bette Davis, a bit of sarcasm. Mirren just looks like she hates being here ... Mirren’s sternest test as an actress is to getting to the end of this without actually laughing. -- The Wrap
...everything here is dull, derivative and arbitrary to the point of grating absurdity ... It's just awful. -- The Times (UK)
You never quite know whether to laugh, scream or cry at the weirdness that Winchester slaps on screen. Maybe it's best appreciated in the manner of the landmark curiosity on which it's based, the Winchester Mystery House. Just gawk, scratch your head and dismiss it with a "Whatever. You do you." ... You would think that ghosts who blamed a firearms manufacturer for their deaths would be slow to fill out their NRA memberships, but these ghosts pack more heat than a backwoods militia. They pepper victims with gunshots -- it's never really clear whether the guns are real or are special-issue ghost guns -- and are vulnerable to gunshots themselves ... Someday, when Mirren receives a lifetime achievement award, there will be a montage of her performances in great films. "Winchester" will not be a part of that montage. -- ABC Tucson
A horror movie that’s woefully lacking in scares, and definitively dull. Simply put, Winchester shoots itself in the foot at every opportunity. -- CBR
The first major movie disappointment of 2018 ... Back where Dame Helen comes from, they’d call this “weak tea,” and indeed Lionsgate and CBS figured this out probably before they’d released the second trailer to the film, picking Super Bowl weekend to release it, not previewing it for the reviewing press. But late last summer, when we got our first peeks at Winchester, we could be excused for getting our hopes up. Now we can only cling to the notion that maybe this will be the biggest let-down of a year that is almost certain to serve up greater examples of that, too. -- Movie Nation
There’s a great film to be made out of the Winchester story, but sadly this isn’t it ... For all their technical competence, the Spierig brothers don’t show great understanding of how ghost stories actually work. The house looks shiny and newly minted, and little is made of its confounding layout. Jump scares dissipate any mounting unease. And the spirits themselves are so disappointingly corporeal that Winchester manages to trap them in their rooms by nailing the doors shut. Surely the whole point of being a ghost is being able to wander where you please? This is a genre where ambiguity is the chief weapon. But from the clunky subtitle (‘The House That Ghosts Built’) to an indifferent script, it’s clear subtlety has fled the building. -- Total Film
A staggeringly pointless supernatural non-chiller featuring some very tiresome jump scares. There’s a hog-whimperingly silly performance from Helen Mirren; she sports a sub-Queen-Victoria widow outfit and a brow-furrowing, lip-parted expression of grieving concern, wandering in front of the camera and looking round at the furniture with a kind of baffled disapproval, as if to murmur: “What is this place? What am I doing here? A film, you say? My fee was not big enough to justify me having to appear in it.” -- The Guardian
What should have been a fun, entertaining jaunt winds up being a maddening, frightful bore ... Winchester is a big misfire. -- Fresh Fiction
...a fairly pedestrian screenplay which is as confused and as highly convoluted as its plot. Mirren, although usually excellent in almost everything, offers not an altogether believable American accent, while Jason Clarke is left in a permanent state of bewilderment, and who can blame him, at the cringeworthy dialogue and the frankly ridiculous twist which anyone with half a brain could have seen coming a mile off. All in all a highly disappointing film from a team which is usually capable of so much more. -- HeyUGuys