Rated 1.0

For whatever reason, 2017 was a strong year for movie ghost stories. Most on the nose was David Lowery’s A Ghost Story, but films as diverse as Personal Shopper, Your Name, Get Out and Coco also dealt with post-life presences unable to move on. If the dispiriting Winchester is any kind of bellwether for 2018, though, it won’t be long before the living envies the dead. All the feel-good phantasmagoria of 2017 turns to slime with this deadly dull film about Sarah Winchester (Helen Mirren), the real-life heiress who created the strange San Jose structure that became known as the Winchester Mystery House. Most of the blame goes to those middling kids, the writing and directing team of Michael and Peter Spierig (Jigsaw), who spin this tattered yarn with all the gracelessness of an amusement park owner wearing a cheap monster mask. Marlon Wayans has made scarier haunted house films.