|Ghost of |
Kristen (Amber Heard) was found alone in a nightgown, with no memory, in front of a farmhouse that she burned down by local police. What do you do with a half-dressed pyromaniac, suffering from amnesia? Throw her in the looney bin, of course!
|Not crazy enough to smudge her makeup, though|
|Why so serious?|
|Surprisingly, ghosts rarely have tangled hair. Why is that?|
My biggest problem with The Ward was the odd nature of the ghost. I suppose you can explain everything away with the twist ending, but...ugh...I don't want to. The Ward is set up as a haunting story. Something bad has happened, and a ghost is terrorizing these girls. Simple enough. The ghost seems to have the ability to show up anywhere, at any time. And yet, ghost attacks are staggered over several days. And the ghost obviously has a physical presence, since it snatches Kristen's blanket (what a bitch!), leaves behind a charm bracelet, and chokes, stabs, slices, and electrocutes different girls.
|Strapped in by a ghost who understands electrical equipment|
The acting in The Ward is not fantastic, but it is adequate for this story. Amber Heard is decent as the main girl (the one with common sense), Danielle Panabaker is mediocre as a snotty stereotype, and Laura-Leigh overacted as the timid gal with a childish mentality. Lyndsy Fonseca's character was a little less basic, and I thought she was fine as the friendly polite girl. Oddly enough, Heard, Panabaker, and Fonseca played crazy characters that didn't look or act crazy at all.
|Bitchy? Maybe. Crazy? No.|
I was very disappointed with John Carpenter's writing and direction. I have nothing against plot twists, but The Ward's twist effectively negates any investment the audience might have made in the characters. This twist was eerily (and unfortunately) close to the twist in Identity, and that twist suuuuuuucks. If the script was tighter, the twist may have been revelatory, but it wound up simply feeling manipulative. As for Carpenter's direction, his pacing was off from the start. The only scares come in the form of "the audience sees something behind a character" startles, and they weren't even effective most of the time. Thanks to the ridiculous story (which he wrote), the actors were given an excuse to portray their characters as shallow cliches, which makes this film even less fun to watch. The Ward is just an all-around miss from a master craftsman that should have known better.
Ten years after his (arguably) worst film, John Carpenter returned with a vengeance. Unfortunately, not in a good way. I wasn't expecting a whole lot, given the cast, but I had hoped for a decent thriller or some classic Carpenter horror. Instead, I was bored and had my intelligence insulted.
Other things that bothered me in The Ward:
- Apparently, the same nurse and patient-wrangler-guy work 24-7, and do not have any relief shifts.
- If the ghost can teleport, why does it take her so long to kill people? Yes, the twist kind of explains it, but it bothers me that no one else asked.
- Why is Kristen the only one clever enough to escape from her room at night? It took her, like, ten minutes to craft an escape. None of the others have come up with anything after presumably months in the hospital?
- Why is the ghost's face disfigured? That doesn't match the way she died whatsoever.