Movie review: Winchester

THIS movie is best described as a Gothic ghost story inspired by the origins of a real mansion, considered to be one of the most haunted places in the US.

The story begins with a young boy named Henry (Finn Scicluna-O'Prey), who wakes up and starts wandering the halls of his creepy home with a sack over his head right after the bell tolls outside his room at midnight.

His mother, Marion ( Sarah Snook), finds him, and we get a good scare to set the tone for the film.

The next scene finds laudanum-addicted psychiatrist Eric Price (Jason Clarke) getting a visit from a lawyer representing the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.

Eric (who is battling his own demons) is hired to analyse Sarah Lockwood Winchester (Dame Helen Mirren), the widowed heiress of the company, and to find out if she is indeed still mentally fit to run it.

So off he goes with his stash of drugs to the Winchester House, a sprawling structure that is constantly being torn down and built upon 24 hours a day, leaving it with countless rooms, staircases that go nowhere, and other strange features.

Sarah believes that her family is cursed, due to the countless lives killed by the highly-effective guns her family manufactures.

After consulting a medium, Sarah is compelled to build rooms that mirror the rooms that the spirits originally died in.

Once they are at peace and go to the other side, the rooms are torn down and rebuilt to house other angry ghosts.

Eric is sceptical, and despite him witnessing strange things, he dismisses it as withdrawal symptoms from the laudanum that Sarah has confiscated from his room.

However, Sarah is desperate for Price's help to keep her grand-nephew Henry and his mother safe from a powerful entity who seems to be growing stronger by the day.

Some scenes will remind you of other movies, but the actors do rise above the script (even if accents go haywire on occasion) to make this film better than expected.

Overall, as horror flicks go, this film is slightly above average.