Haunting of Winchester House (DVD)


howhs - Haunting of Winchester House (DVD)Reviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Lisa Kellerman, Michael Holmes, Tomas Boykin

Directed by Mark Atkins

Haunting of Winchester House may not be mockbuster cashing in on a big screen feature but with it The Asylum does attempt to cash-in on the current 3D movie craze. Yep. Haunting of Winchester House is the first ever 3D movie from The Asylum.

So I rented the DVD from my local Blockbuster and as I was walking out the door I opened the case to get a look at the glasses – the glasses that were not included with the movie. I asked the clerk and he told me that the distributor never sent them the 3D glasses like they were supposed to. The movie is available on the disc in both 3D and 2D but if I want to watch the 3D version I’d have to have my own 3D glasses sitting around somewhere because someone on the distribution end screwed up royally. I don’t know if this has been a problem at other Blockbusters or if there just seems to be some sort of jinx going on when it comes to me and Asylum films. Suffice to say this annoyed me to no end.

I tried using the blue/red 3D glasses that came with the Friday the 13th Part 3 DVD that came out earlier this year. I don’t know if they weren’t completely compatible or if the 3D processing was just really shoddy but I gave up after about fifteen minutes of murkiness that barely looked three-dimensional.

Why did The Asylum release this particular film in 3-D? Earlier this year they announced like three other movies would be in 3-D before they finally settled on Haunting of Winchester House being their first 3D DVD release. At one point it was Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus; a b-movie that would have been benefitted from being in 3D. For the life of me I do not understand why they chose to render a 3D version of this film instead. It adds nothing and I got the sense the director did not shoot the movie knowing it would be in 3-D. Haunting of Winchester House in 3D is just a movie in 3D for the sake of being in 3D.

It is purported to be based on a true-life haunting. What little I know about the actual Winchester House from having very briefly looked up the case online I gather the movie has very little in common with the facts. No surprise there.

Fitting that this is a movie about a creaky, old fashioned haunted house since it is a creaky, old fashioned haunted house movie: lots of walking around with trepidation as shadows move about in the background, unexplainable noises, doors slamming shut on their own, objects moving about on their own, the sheet that rises on its own as if someone is underneath and when pulled away there is nothing underneath, and so on. Very old fashioned haunted house standards abound. Almost a textbook how-to guide to haunted house clichés. I don’t recall a piano playing on its own so they clearly missed a big one.

Things do turn a bit odd as the wife, husband, and young daughter get slowly chased around the house by monster-masked spooks. A toothy rubbery monster pops out from under the bed to frighten the mom. That’s when I started trying to figure out who this incredibly tame “unrated and uncut” movie’s target audience was supposed to be. I can’t imagine adults getting creeped out by any of this. Kids, maybe; assuming they don’t get bored by it first. I felt like I was watching a stuffy PBS production of an R.L. Stine tale. An earnest attempt to make an old school haunted house movie, just not a scary or even intriguing one to anyone whose age has reached double digits.

There was no threat of me falling asleep on this one thanks to orchestral scoring blasting full force whenever something supernatural would occur. Can’t say the composer didn’t earn his paycheck.

A blurb on the back of the DVD proclaims the movie to be “in the tradition of The Sixth Sense and The Others”. Way to spoil your own twist ending before even popping the DVD into the player.

mobF - Haunting of Winchester House (DVD)mobH - Haunting of Winchester House (DVD)

1 1/2 out of 5

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