Haunting Of Winchester House DVD review

Low budget 3D horror in the home? How well does that work then?

With 3D films making a serious comeback at the cinema, it was only time before the good people at The Asylum cashed in. With that in mind they have already made two films in 3D, the first is a smutty comedy (Sexpot In 3DDD). The second is the film I have just finished watching and now have the task of telling you all about it.

Let’s cut straight to the chase. This film does not have an original bone in its body. Various films have been ripped off. Obvious ones that spring to mind are the various Amityville films and The Others. Even some of the makeup on one of the ghosts looks like the evil gypsy in Drag Me To Hell. However, for what was, no doubt, an incredibly low budget, Mark Atkins, the film’s writer-director, has pulled off a little gem.

When a young family move into an old house as its caretakers, they have no idea what is in store for them over the next few days. The house is haunted by a number of evil spirits including what I think is a first – a deaf ghost – as well as the aforementioned evil hag and a selection of various rotting corpses. Creepy goings-on are the order of the day from the very beginning and I was a little worried as one of the main leads, Lira Kellerman, isn’t acting too well here. However, as the film progressed it got better (or the editing got better) and she no longer looked like she was reading lines off a board. After a series of bumps in the night, the daughter Haley is abducted by Mrs Winchester (the old hag).

Primarily set over one night, the film really at times is quite atmospheric and cranks up the tension with some clever low tech effects created in-camera. Ghosts move around the background and are helped by some good sound effects which at times is quite creepy. As I mentioned, the film is not very original in its structure or story but it’s obvious that the filmmakers are enjoying themselves throwing in every haunted house cliche around.

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For what is possibly a first, no vicar or priest shows up to rid the house of evil, but a paranormal ghost hunter does. He is great and looks like he walked in from a 70s blaxploitation epic with funky afro. He livens the film up with his calm reasonings and explanation of the spirit world. The Asylum must sign this guy up for future films (Tomas Boykin), he’s terrific.

The 3D works fine on my telly and there are some nice moments of ‘In your Face 3D’. Nothing spectacular, but pretty cool. What was nice was that even when you had a quiet moment, the 3D worked, with an actor blending into the background with another one out in front. The ‘flat’ version is also fine to watch and it’s fun to spot ‘3D moments’.

On the disc are the ‘flat’ and 3D versions of the film and both have a nice picture and suitably scary soundtrack. Trailers of other films are included and also a featurette ‘making of’ and some deleted scenes.

Far better films about haunted houses have been made and far worse ones have. Haunting Of Winchester House is somewhere in the middle. A little rose amongst a lot of thorns. Not brilliant, not dreadful, somewhere in between. A nice little time filler.

2 stars

Rating:

2 out of 5