John Carpenter is undoubtedly one of the Masters Of Horror. With his films The Thing and Halloween, Carpenter solidified himself in the horror archives as a legend and after years of time out from the director’s chair he returned in 2010 with his next horror The Ward, starring Amber Heard.
Opening with a young woman named Kristen (Heard) setting fire to an abandoned farmhouse only to be caught by two police officers and carted off to a psychiatric hospital, The Ward instantly throws questions the viewers’ way. After entering the North Bend Psychiatric Hospital and shown the rules and boundaries she gets to know those in her company, who too are under lock and key until their conditions improve. They are the friendly and artistic Iris, moody Sarah, eccentric Emily and the child-like Zoey; each very different individuals.
At first they are wary of a new member of the ward but soon Kristen is taken in by the foursome. Good job really as a ghostly figure begins to creep its way into the halls of the ward and terrorises Kristen. Looking for answers soon results in Kristen being kept an eye on by Dr Stringer.
Ignoring all warnings and a reluctance from the other girls to divulge the secrets of the evil lurking in the ward, Kristen attempts to uncover the mystery of this dark evil figure and after investigating she finds herself deeper into a situation that could spiral out of control. With the girls slowly disappearing one by one the ward soon becomes a prison where you cannot escape your fate…
Despite the great name of John Carpenter attached to the film The Ward doesn’t quite cut it in the world of great horror films. Lacking that tension that was so clear in Carpenter’s previous films, it doesn’t get the heart pumping and there are few if any moments where you are shocked or ready to jump out of your seat. That said, Amber Heard seems to hold her own as our helpless victim and the support cast do their best to salvage what is a sinking ship in terms of storyline.
Unfortunately The Ward will not match up to many of Carpenter’s other projects and seemingly suffers from the ‘seen it all before’ twist ending but it is still a watchable effort albeit nothing spectacular.
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