DATELINE: Helen Mirren, Ghost Buster
Nearly every role in Hollywood movies for women over 50 will go to Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, and/or Helen Mirren.
The so-called “inspired” true story of Mrs. Winchester, widow of the gun manufacturer is one such script from that the tandem of aging stars. Helen Mirren should have passed this ghostly horror into the slush pile of scripts.
Mirren accepted, and now has her first ghost/horror movie under her bonnet and on her resume. The actor whose resume should be enhanced is Eamon Ferren, playing a creepy footman (so to speak). He has a bright career ahead as the next Vincent Price.
What’s next? playing a doting granny on a TV series?
Winchester is about as faithful as Johnny Depp’s movie about the Headless Horseman. Docudrama never had it so bad as Mirren taking on bereft Mrs.Winchester in her haunted house. Ghosts patiently wait to shoot up the joint.
The widow lives in abject horror that all those people killed by her late husband’s guns will haunt her. Indeed, she was so terrified she built a house to close off the endless parade of spirits who showed up for a seance some dark and stormy night.
The story goes ballistic on paranormal. You’d find more truth in the Blair Witch Story, or Poltergeist. As someone with first-hand haunting in our own home, we are indignant over nice spirits being given a bad rap by the Psychic Hotline.
We must deal with the hand we have been dealt in this film.
Promise is an ephemeral gift when ghosts deal you the Dead Man’s Hand. We first noticed that white-haired Mirren in widow’s weeds looks Grand Guignol. She does a turn as victim of an Exorcist.
From there it is all downhill and down the creepy hallway. When special effects hit you over the head, you are on the Gong Show, less frightened and more in shell shock.
There was a good movie in here somewhere, lost among the special effects monsters that demand big audiences and bigger profits. Mirren should have called Ghost Busters.