Musical Score By: Peter Spierig

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In the supernatural horror film, Winchester, Helen Mirren is Sarah Winchester, widow of famed gun manufacturer, William Wirt Winchester.  After the death of daughter Annie Winchester and the sudden death of her husband, in her grief, Sarah has convinced herself that she is cursed by the ghosts of all who have died at the hands of firearms manufactured by Winchester.  At the advice of a medium, Sarah decides to build an enormous mansion designed to keep evil spirits at bay.  Psychiatrist Eric Price (Jason Clarke) visits the estate to evaluate Sarah’s state of mind, but the longer he stays, the more he believes that there is more to her obsession with the dead than meets the eye.

The musical score of Winchester was created by German-born, Australian film director, writer and producer Peter Spierig, on half of the writing/directing team known as The Spierig Brothers.  In fact, The Spierig Brothers actually wrote and directed this film, based on the world-famous Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CaliforniaWinchester marks the second feature film score for Peter Spierig, the first being the award-nominated score for the science fiction thriller Predestination, based on the Robert A. Heinlein short story, All You Zombies.

The Winchester Soundtrack features an orchestral score with electronic sound and manipulation.  The score is designed to keep the listener on edge.  There is a heavy, somewhat oppressive feeling to the score, perhaps speaking to the mind of Sarah who bears a tremendous amount of guilt.  Having lost her daughter and husband in such a short period of time, it is no wonder Sarah would seek out some sort of reason for their deaths.  That she decides that her downfalls must have something to do with lives taken by guns manufactured by her family may seem illogical to some, but is perfectly logical to her.  Her mind is haunted and the score reflects this.  Mrs. Winchester's theme is piano led, heavy of heart and filled with sorrow.  There is some definite reverb in this track as the music rises in crescendo.

Echoey pianos, dark cello notes and higher pitched strings and fairly ominous sounds abound in this score.  The best example of what the score is like can be found in the longest track, The Winchester Curse.  At one moment beautiful and the other spooky, this track basically encompasses what you will find on the rest of this album.  Winchester is a supernatural horror film and the score is designed to aide in keeping the viewer uncomfortable with the surroundings.  Spierig mostly stays away from the classic horror cues of screeching violins and the new era of sound effects versus music, but the sound manipulation, echo effects and lower-toned music has the same effect.

The Winchester Soundtrack fairly screams supernatural horror film, but has a different sort of sound than most soundtracks of this genre.  Definitely worth taking a listen to.


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