WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT:
Kristen (Amber Heard), a beautiful but troubled young woman, finds herself bruised, cut, drugged, and held against her will in a remote ward of a psychiatric hospital. She is completely disoriented, with no idea why she was brought to this place and no memory of her life before being admitted. All she knows is that she isn’t safe.
The other patients in the ward–four equally disturbed young women–offer no answers, and Kristen quickly realizes things are not as they seem. The air is heavy with secrets, and at night, when the hospital is dark and foreboding, she hears strange and frightening sounds. It appears they are not alone. One-by-one, the other girls begin to disappear and Kristen must find a way out of this hellish place before she, too, becomes a victim. As she struggles to escape, she will uncover a truth far more dangerous and horrifying than anyone could have imagined.
For me to review The Ward, I have to ignore the name that is on top of the film title. Being John Carpenter must be a curse because every time he announces he is going to do a new horror film, the genre sits up and waits in hope that its the new Halloween or The Thing. Many film directors would probably love to be in that position, where hype and hope follows every new release even though over the years its usually followed by a disappointment and a need to chuck on an old film of his to remind yourself how good he………no, I made a vow not to go down that route. I could easy sell out and do the usual comments of “how he has lost his mojo” and so on, but I refuse to do sol because lets face it, you the reader have probably heard it too many times before and yet many do not realise how false that statement is. Yes his last classic was the 90’s In The Mouth Of Madness which we at HCF love with all our heart, but a few years ago he made Cigarette Burns for TV Show Masters Of Horror, which for me personally is up there with his best work. Its mostly due to that epsiode that we arrive with this film because the story goes that Carpenter enjoyed working on the low-budget, fast-paced project so much he wanted to try to make a film using the same principles and style, so with that in mind, I had high hopes for The Ward on the basis that every legend has one last great film in him, and his return after a exodus seven years thrilled my bone, but was I heading for a fall once more?
The Ward is set during 1966 where it starts with a distraught and disoriented Kristen burning down a farmhouse and then being sent to a mental institution (a real life home for the insane) where she shares a ward with four equally disturbed patients: the confident Sarah (Danielle Panabaker), the sweet Iris (Lyndsy Fonseca), the outcast Emily (Mamie Gummer) and the childlike Zoey (Laura-Leigh). Kristen has no idea why she has been admitted and can’t remember anything about her life up to this point. Her main concern is getting out of the joint and starting afresh, but her hopes are dashed with an evil shadow lurking in the dark, a secret with a murderous intent.
Its easy to find fault with The Ward and believe me many will, but before I say what I think is wrong with the film, I am going to look at the positives and first is that the film looks great. Its filmed with an eerie style gloom that fits the concept and it owes much debt to the minor classic Shock Corridor which I thought must be the inspiration when Michael and Shawn Rasmussen sat down and wrote the script. The music itself is considerably creepy even though its not the deft touch of Carpenter himself which is unusual when you talk about an horror he has made. Instead the duties go to Mark Kilian who offers a rumbling score that is much in tune with Rosemary Baby for its sound!
dull script and maybe the problem is that the film does not lack in the direction but of the written word.
Read the view of Matt Wavish of The Ward here rating: 3/10