Biography Blu-ray Review

‘Winchester’ Blu-ray Review: Committed Performances Breathe Life Into This Haunted House Ghost Story

May 1, 2018Ben MK

An American psychologist enlisted to assess the mental health of a reclusive, grieving widow finds his own sanity tested in Winchester, the latest horror-thriller from Australia's Spierig Brothers.

Set in 1906 San Jose, California, the story follows Dr. Eric Price (Jason Clarke), a man with a dark past, having lost his wife Ruby to tragic circumstances some years earlier. But when he's contacted by a representative from the Winchester Repeating Arms Company to perform a psychological evaluation of company head Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren), in order to determine if she's of sound mind to run the business, Eric finds himself a guest in the infamous and ever-expanding Winchester mansion, where he must not only confront his own demons, but those of Sarah as well. As one especially vengeful spirit draws closer, can Eric overcome his own personal trauma and save Sarah's niece (Sarah Snook) and her son (Finn Scicluna-O'Prey) from its supernatural wrath?

Much like how the real-life Sarah Winchester was compelled to expand her home with labyrinthine addition upon addition, Winchester builds upon her legend until it's impossible to discern fact from fiction. That said, the film manages to yield a decent ghost story, if only thanks to the committed performances from Mirren and Clarke.

Winchester haunts Blu-ray with a frightfully good 1080p encode. Image quality is reasonably well-detailed, highlighting the film's excellent period production design. However, this being a horror movie, many of those details are oftentimes obscured by darkness and shadows. Still, color saturation is excellent, and gunshots, ghostly shrieks, and the sounds of shattering glass and crumbling walls that fill the film's climax, which coincides with the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, are all well represented on the disc's Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix.

VVS Films' single-disc Blu-ray release includes the following extra:

  • The Making of 'Winchester' (24:13) - A behind-the-scenes documentary that looks at Helen Mirren's and Jason Clarke's performances, the attention paid to the period costume and set design, what directors Peter and Michael Spierig bring to the film, and the special effects used to bring the ghosts to life.

Winchester is available from VVS Films as of May 1st, 2018. The Blu-ray features English and French Dolby TrueHD 5.1 tracks, and is presented with English and French subtitles. The total runtime is 1 hr. 39 min.

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