Title: John Carpenter’s The Ward
Directed by: John Carpenter
Starring: Amber Heard, Lyndsy Fonseca and Jared Harris
Running time: 88 minutes, Rated R, available on standard DVD
After burning down a farmhouse in 1966, Kristen is brought to the North Bend Psychiatric Hospital in Oregon. She meets with several same-age institutionalized girls who are being treated by Dr Gerald Stringer. While taking a shower, she is attacked by a girl whom she reveals is named Alice, a former patient who had mysteriously disappeared. Soon the other girls begin to disappear or wind up murdered by a misused therapy device. Kristin is on a mission to escape the mental ward or risk becoming a victim at the hands of the ghostly Alice.
Without giving away the “twist” ending, I’ll just say it’s been done many times over; but the thing is, it’s still fun when the recycled surprise is finally revealed. John Carpenter still has his mojo running strong, and The Ward is kind of a tip of the hat to the classic psychological thriller movies, but with some blood splattered on top of it. Amber Heard is well casted in the lead as Kristen, and Jared Harris is great as the creepy, yet caring Dr. Stringer.
The DVD extras include a lively commentary with John Carpenter and Jared Harris, as well as the theatrical trailer.
The special effects were really quite simple, and the majority of the movie depended on the actors and the cinematography. If you’re a wuss when it comes to horror movies, you most likely will be able to tolerate watching as long as you’re not alone. If you like suspense, you will definitely enjoy it. After watching the trailer first, I didn’t set my expectations too high, but I was kind of surprised that I actually liked this film.
One thing I hate about horror films is when there’s no resolution. You’re left hanging on until the end with a “WTF” look on your face and you feel like your whole day is ruined; luckily that didn’t happen here. I thought it was great that there were no questions left unanswered and there’s room left open for a sequel if need be; but I think it’s just fine as a stand-alone psychological horror film.
Total Rating: B
Reviewed by JM Willis