A young woman is institutionalized and tries to help the
other patients in her ward escape from a vengeful ghost.
The Ward (2010)
Directed by John Carpenter
Written by Michael Rasmussen and Shawn Rasmussen
Starring Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer,
Danielle Panabaker, Laura-Leigh, Jared Harris,
Lyndsy Fonseca, Mika Boorem, D.R. Anderson
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The once great director who gave us such timeless classics has Halloween, Escape from New York, and The Thing is now responsible for this astoundingly bad foray into psychological horror. I don't how much Carpenter got paid to direct this, but I sure hope it was worth it. From the poor writing to the horribly one-dimensional characters, The Ward is the film that finally destroyed John Carpenter and even worse, introduced the mainstream world to Amber Heard.
The story (what little there is) revolves around a girl named Kristen who is committed to an insane asylum for burning down a farmhouse. Throughout the film, we're led to believe that this asylum is haunted by the ghost of a former inmate, though we're rarely given any acknowledgement among the inmates that this is true. Most of the times, the ghost just pops up, kills somebody, and we move on to the next ill-advised escape attempt. The finale is really the only part of the film that's well-written and well-executed, giving us a twist ending that answers all the nagging questions and gives us some form of closure. However, the journey to that ending is so fraught with horror cliches and bad acting that it's really not worth it in the end anyway.
When compared to virtually any other film that Carpenter's done (except maybe Ghosts of Mars), The Ward doesn't even come close. It's a film that doesn't know if wants to be a psychological thriller or a ghost flick, so it tries to be both and fails miserably. There's no enjoyable scenes, no likable characters, and no reason to be invested in the almost nonexistent story. All The Ward does is remind me of the steep decline of Carpenter's films, from cult classics to forgettable Wal-Mart $5.00 bin fodder.