Updated: Mar 12, 2020
Review by Kelly
“An institutionalized young woman becomes terrorized by a ghost.”
For the month of March, I will be reviewing the remaining John Carpenter films I haven’t seen, which means delving into the most current releases like The Ward. John Carpenter is a renowned writer and director of genre favorites like Halloween, The Thing, and The Fog.
The Ward is directed by John Carpenter yet written by Michael and Ross Rasmussen and stars Amber Heard, Jared Harris and a bunch of relatively unknown actors. It was released in 2010 and has had minimal influence on the genre and it’s easily forgotten that it was directed by such an iconic person.
The movie, set in 1966, follows the story of Kristen, a troubled young woman who is found at the beginning of the movie setting fire to an old farmhouse. She is picked up and committed to the local asylum and put into this “experimental therapy” with a group of other young women. Kristen seems to be haunted by a ghost named Alice, someone whom the other women are afraid or hesitant to talk about. Kristen can quickly tell that things within this asylum aren’t as they seem, with women “leaving and never coming back.” However, this Alice isn’t exactly what she seems as well and as the women start dying, the story reveals more about Alice and even more about Kristen.
The Ward is an incredibly average movie with few redeeming qualities. The story is cliche and contains a horror and film trope that is my least favorite (I will of course not spoil it here…). The cinematography, acting, score and more are all just fine and adequate. There were, however, some beautiful looming shots of this wondrous old asylum with great costume design for the women. I am almost embarrassed to admit that I managed to jump twice in a few startling scares. The most stand out aspect of this movie though was Amber Heard and her character Kristen. She knew from the get-go that this asylum and the Doctor weren’t right and something was amiss. Heard had some strong acting and she was great casting for this role. The character of Kristen was strong, smart and resourceful. She was determined to help her and the others escape the hospital and fight against Alice, despite how terrifying she was. I love seeing these types of women in horror so I am happy to have at least her part be a stand out one.
With the relative wealth of John Carpenter films, I think you can skip this one as I don’t think you would be missing out on anything unless you want a few very cheap scares.
Next up, Ghosts of Mars!