Taglines: Terror is Building.
Inspired by true events. On an isolated stretch of land 50 miles outside of San Francisco sits the most haunted house in the world. Built by Sarah Winchester, (Academy Award®-winner Helen Mirren) heiress to the Winchester fortune, it is a house that knows no end. Constructed in an incessant twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week mania for decades, it stands seven stories tall and contains hundreds of rooms.
To the outsider it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman’s madness. But Sarah is not building for herself, for her niece (Sarah Snook) or for the brilliant Doctor Eric Price (Jason Clarke) whom she has summoned to the house. She is building a prison, an asylum for hundreds of vengeful ghosts, and the most terrifying among them have a score to settle with the Winchesters.
Winchester (also known as Winchester: The House that Ghosts Built) is a 2018 supernatural horror film directed by Michael and Peter Spierig and written by the Spierigs and Tom Vaughn. The film stars Helen Mirren as Sarah Winchester, with Jason Clarke and Sarah Snook, and follows Winchester as she is haunted by spirits inside her San Jose mansion in 1902.
An American-Australian co-production, the film was released in the United States on February 2, 2018 and is scheduled to be released in Australia on February 22, 2018. It received negative reviews from critics, who called it “dull” and “pointless”.
In the United States and Canada, Winchester was released on February 2, 2018, and was expected to gross $6–8 million from 2,480 theaters in its opening weekend. It ended up debuting to $9.3 million, finishing third at the box office behind holdovers Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Maze Runner: The Death Cure.
About the Story
Sarah Winchester is the widow of famed gun manufacturer William Winchester. Her husband’s sudden death and the previous death of their child Annie have left her in severe grief. Having received a more than $20-million dollar inheritance gained from her husband’s business, Winchester convinces herself she is cursed by the ghosts of those who died at the hands of Winchester firearms.
After seeking advice from a medium, Winchester begins building an enormous, seemingly never-ending mansion in San Jose, California that would eventually be named the Winchester Mystery House. The house is under constant construction and Sarah’s relative Marion Marriott lives in the house with her son Henry. At night, Henry is possessed by a mysterious entity.
In 1906, the Winchester company hire doctor Eric Prince to assess Sarah believing she is mentally unfit to remain in charge of the company. Eric is grieving from the death of his wife Ruby and reliant on drugs he has procured from his profession. Eric arrives at the house where he meets Marion. Marion is initially dismissive of Eric.
While preparing for dinner, Eric is startled by a ghostly vision but believes it is side effects of the drugs he has taken. After a tense dinner with Sarah, Marion and Henry, the group return to their rooms for the night. Eric leaves his room, spotting a ghost in the basement and goes outside for air, finding the garden room boarded up. Eric then witnesses a possessed Henry jump off the roof of the building. Eric saves Henry which is witnessed by Marion and Sarah.
The next day, Eric begins to conduct his assessment of Sarah’s mental well-being. Sarah admits her fear of ghosts and believes she can help them move on. Sarah also reveals that she knows about Eric’s drug problem and confiscates them before moving him to a different room.
That night, Eric leaves his room and witnesses a seemingly possessed Sarah draw a plan for a new room. He is startled by an entity and flees back to his room. The next day Sarah shows Eric that she keeps records of people killed by Winchester rifles. It is revealed that Eric had actually been shot and killed by a Winchester rifle before being revived and keeps the bullet with him. Sarah explains how 13 nails keep spirits sealed in rooms and how she intends to help a particularly violent spirit that she has encountered. A room filled with Winchester rifles has its construction finished.
Directed by: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Starring: Helen Mirren, Sarah Snook, Jason Clarke, Angus Sampson, Bruce Spence, Eamon Farren, Laura Brent, Emm Wiseman, Alice Chaston, Thor Carlsson, Xavier Gouault, Dawayne Jordan
Screenplay by: Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
Production Design by: Matthew Putland
Cinematography by: Ben Nott
Film Editing by: Matt Villa
Costume Design by: Wendy Cork
Set Decoration by: Vanessa Cerne
Art Direction by: Janie Parker, Mark Warren
Music by: Peter Spierig
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, drug content, some sexual material and thematic elements.
Distributed by: Lionsgate Films, CBS Films
Release Date: February 2, 2018