HAUNTING OF WINCHESTER HOUSE
Directed by: Mark Atkins
Written by: Jose Prendes and Mark Atkins
Official Blurb: A family moves into the mansion to act as caretakers, but when a malevolent force abducts their daughter they discover why the house deserves its reputation as one of the most haunted places in America.
This took me back to my youth in the dark ages of the 1970s before the Internet and Cable TV when many a Saturday night was spent staying up late to watch the locally hosted Chiller Theater. In fact, the no-name actors in this film looked as though they’d pretty much stepped out of that era–especially the father’s hair.
The story starts with a promising bit of supernatural havoc wreaking then officially opens with a family (mom, dad, teenaged looking daughter) leaving their home, evidently to get away from bad memories of a tragedy. We know this because of the lack of baby and infant car seat left with the trash on the sidewalk.
They head out of the city and drive along some desolate winding mountainous roads where they have a near fatal collision. But tragedy is averted and they reach their destination of the fabled Winchester House (or a craptacular facsimile thereof. It was pretty ho hum and almost didn’t pass my daughter’s “20 minute rule”–if it doesn’t get interesting within the first 20 minutes it never will.
I was looking at the clock as the minutes inched on but the promise of horrific goodies via the semi spooky music kept me watching. And once the mom had freaky visions/dream while trying to sleep I was determined to stay with it until bitter end. ^_^
The costuming was laughable, the general production values sparse, the acting, well, nonexistent, and while that’s not much of a recommendation, there were some things of interest. Unintentional chuckles with the bad continuity giving us “magic” growing/shrinking candles, the “Paranormal Investigator” who didn’t seem to have even one clue on what to do and the supposed teenaged daughter who acted like an ten year old.
I know what you’re thinking: Total waste of time and you may be right, but things did sort of pick up a wee bit with the appearance of some ghosts–some tragic some downright nasty– and a sort of surprise ending. Unlike The Village which hit all the big theaters this one didn’t make me long for those two hours of my life back, so that makes it a fairly worthwhile watch in my book.