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13/03/18

Guns don't kill people. People do. ( WINCHESTER ) Movie Review


Yeah, don't tell that to Sarah Winchester.

As the heir to and majority owner of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, Sarah knows a thing or two about guns. Winchester guns—used by soldiers and lawmen, cowboys and criminals—have made her a very wealthy woman: Her bank was built on bullets.

But making money through such lethal means has also taken a toll on Sarah. Years ago, a medium told her that her very name is cursed: All the people killed by those well-crafted rifles were determined to exact their revenge upon the Winchester family.

Sarah feels that curse acutely: Her only daughter died when she was just a month old. Her husband keeled over from tuberculosis, leaving her mountains of money and, Sarah believes, oodles of eidolons.

Sarah's convinced that there's only one way to calm these cantankerous spirits: Build a house for them. After all, home is where the haunt is.

Sarah bought an eight-room mansion outside San Jose, California, in 1886, and began using her vast fortune to expand it. Twenty years later, the place has grown to seven stories and nearly 100 rooms; the building continues day and night, 365 days a year. Sometimes new wings are torn down almost as soon as they're built. It's a boon for the local construction industry, surely, but the house itself is a bit … odd. Stairs lead into ceilings. Doors open to nowhere. And the number 13 is everywhere: Thirteen stair risers. Thirteen hooks on a wardrobe. Thirteen nails hammered into the bars across bedroom doors, sealing them mysteriously shut.

But while Sarah may be the majority owner in Winchester, she's not the only one, and her frenetic building activities are making the other stockholders nervous. Is the weapons maven simply eccentric? Or has her trigger finally snapped? Many secretly hope so, given the vast wealth and power she controls. But there's only one way to know for sure: Hire a psychologist to study Sarah in the natural habitat of her enigmatic, sprawling mansion.

Eric Price seems to fit the bill. He's a mind doctor of some repute, though he's hit a rough patch of late. His wife died under tragic circumstances, and ever since he's been awash in a sea of low-class women and high-priced liquor. He's not above using his own medications, either, and those can be pretty pricey, too.

When a representative from Winchester comes calling on Eric and asks just how much the doctor owes to his creditors, Eric states flatly, "$300," not an insignificant sum back in 1906.

"We'll pay six," the rep says, meaning $600. But then he adds, "For the right assessment."

Eric accepts. He figures it'll be easy money. It's not as if Sarah's eccentricities are hidden, after all. They're out there for the whole world to see—or at least the world of central California—written in nail and board.

But Sarah, it seems, had a hand in choosing Eric, too. She believes he may have his own special connection to her creepy, cavernous casa. And he might just confirm what Sarah's known for years: Her ghosts are as real as the house itself.

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