Connect with us

Movie Reviews

The Ward



Certificate: 8th July 2011

Directed By: John Carpenter

Starring: Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker

Certificate: 15

Reviewed By: Kyle Coleman

The trailer for The Ward didn’t inspire much confidence, so I wasn’t too upset that it wasn’t playing anywhere near me. Then I realized that John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) had the reins and I thought, “He’s pumped out some pretty good horror movies, why not this one?” Unfortunately, that optimism was crushed after the first 20 minutes of the film and John ultimately let me down.

The Ward is set in the 1960s and begins with Amber Heard (Drive Angry) suffering from temporary amnesia, only to learn that she has burned down a barn and is now in a psychiatry ward. She is soon attacked by the ghost of a former patient, and hatches an inept plan to escape from the facility along with the other lady patients the ghost is threatening. Unfortunately for her, the ghost is bent on disposing of all the patients, and the ghost has the upper hand.

Something noteworthy is that these female patients make up the most attractive psychiatric ward ever assembled. The whole time, I was expecting a seemingly perverted guard to make his move, but he actually rebuffed the advances of one of the girls (horror cliché avoided). Time was instead spent on not-developing a coherent story and on a song-and-dance scene that lasts about 45 minutes, at least, that’s how long it felt.

After her sub-par performance in Drive Angry, I didn’t have too much faith in Amber’s acting ability, but she was pretty convincing as a confused but rebellious patient, and isn’t too bad to look at either. The main problem I had with this film was the way the ghost was revealed. There was no element of surprise or jumpiness that makes horror movies suspenseful and chill inducing (see M. Night’s work in The Sixth Sense), but rather the ghost was revealed in a slow-pan type way in each of her scenes, deflating any tension that had been accrued. Lack of horror and suspense in a horror movie is not a recipe for success, and this element is an enormous waste of potential.

The Ward is only 88 minutes long, and the first 80 minutes are pretty forgettable. However, I truly did enjoy the twist at the end and upon reflection, scenes that I deemed laugh-worthy fit much better and make much more sense in context of the twist. That said, the fact that I was laughing out loud during a horror movie means something is amiss. The nice ending was far from correcting all the missteps Mr. Carpenter made, in this mishandled and entirely forgettable horror film.

Just For You