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Jason Clarke

Helen Mirren does what she can to enliven the creaky haunted-house thriller 'Winchester'

Helen Mirren does what she can to enliven the creaky haunted-house thriller 'Winchester'

Whenever a movie opens in wide release without screening in advance for critics, those of us with a professional duty to seek it out immediately brace ourselves — not without some eagerness — for an experience of epic, unprecedented awfulness.

Once in a while our expectations are satisfied — I still (vaguely) remember you, “Aeon Flux”! — but most of the time we find ourselves let down, longing for memorable turkeys and instead getting stuck with bland mediocrities like “Winchester.”

Directed by brothers Michael and Peter Spierig (“Daybreakers,” “Jigsaw”), who wrote the script with Tom Vaughan, this dour and derivative ghost story exploits the mysterious legacy of Sarah...

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