Mystery Mansion: Winchester Film Review

Helen Mirren as Sarah Winchester
Helen Mirren as Sarah Winchester (Photo courtesy of

Who has seen the film Winchester?

If you’re interested in haunted houses, you may have heard of this mysterious mansion located in San Jose, California. It is notorious for its complex construction, which was spearheaded by widow and owner, Sarah Winchester. It’s said that she maintained nonstop construction on the house 24 hours a day, seven days a week from 1884 to 1922, the year of her death.

It was her passion project after the passing of her husband and infant daughter. Her spouse headed a rifle company, which – along with $20 million – she inherited when he died. She invested much of her wealth in the house. There’s a stairway to nowhere, hundreds of doors and evidence of her fixation with the number 13. Her motivations for continually expanding her home in such an eccentric manner are not entirely known, but some speculate it was connected to her belief in ghosts.

The exterior of Winchester mansion from the film
The exterior of Winchester mansion from the film (Photo courtesy of

I am absolutely obsessed with the Victorian era, so I was quite keen on seeing the movie. Although the foundation of the film is based on true events, certain aspects of the plot are fictional and explore the spiritual enigma surrounding the widow. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but will provide a brief overview of the story.

The film is set in 1906, already a couple of decades into the construction of the mansion. Sarah Winchester, played by Helen Mirren, still mourns the deaths of her husband and child more than 20 years prior, and is plagued with guilt for deaths caused by Winchester firearms. She is convinced she is haunted by these tormented spirits and proceeds with construction of her mansion in accordance with the ghosts.

Jason Clarke as doctor Eric Price
Jason Clarke as doctor Eric Price (Photo courtesy of

Concerned about her mental health and ability to run the business, the Winchester company enlists doctor Eric Price (Jason Clarke) to stay at the mansion and evaluate the heiress. Beleaguered by demons of his own, Price unknowingly has a connection with the spiritual realm. Madam Winchester senses he hides secrets and attempts to draw these out of him. Sarah’s niece, Marion Marriott (Sarah Snook), lives with her aunt along with her son, Henry (Finn Scicluna-O’Prey), who begins to display odd behavior that eventually escalates to threaten the life of Sarah Winchester.

Marion Marriott and son Henry
Marion Marriott and son Henry (Photo courtesy of

Those who enjoyed The Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe will want to see this movie. It draws you in with mystery and intrigue. As I mentioned before, the house is real, located about 50 miles outside of San Francisco, and this historic establishment is open to the public for tours! I have added this spot on my list of places to visit, so stay tuned for a future blog post on my experience. Maybe I’ll have a special encounter?

Find out more about the Winchester film at the official website.

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