The Ward (9/17/12)

The WardMovie Two Hundred Fourteen

A group of young women in a mental institution are being killed by a ghost in The Ward.

A young woman named Kristen (Amber Heard) sets fire to an old farmhouse and is brought to a mental institution for treatment. While at the facility she meets the other girls; Iris (Lyndsy Fonseca), Sarah (Danielle Panabaker), Emily (Mamie Gummer), and Zoey (Laura Leigh). Kristen is given the room that used to belong to a girl named Tammy, who we see attacked by what appears to be a zombie/ghost of a young woman. As her doctor, Dr. Stringer (Jared Harris) tries different therapies, the girls are being killed one by one by the ghost, a former patient named Alice. Kristen needs to get to the bottom of the mystery before any more girls are killed.

Directed by horror master John Carpenter, The Ward actually surprised me. It was recommended to me by Written In Blood and while I had never read a glowingly positive review of the film, I was left mostly pleased by it. Anyone who grew up with John Carpenter films has likely been nonplussed by his endeavors as of late and The Ward certainly doesn’t hearken back to a day when Carpenter’s name was synonymous with horror films, but it is enjoyable enough.

The plot of The Ward is not exactly mindblowingly original and may not offer many surprises for fans of the genre, but the ground it treads is still sort of fresh. The cast for The Ward is actually not as bad as I expected. Since movies like this tend to have some horrible actresses that are only there to go topless, it seems they opted to favor acting instead of toplessness (spoiler alert, I don’t think there’s any toplessness). Amber Heard is not exactly going to win any awards for her performance, but in what could have been a painful-to-watch performance, she actually does a pretty decent job. Also, Meryl Streep’s daughter is in this, so it’s almost like a Streep impersonator, which is kind of fun.

I’m not going to try to sell The Ward too much, but in terms of recent horror movies (and more importantly, recent Carpenter movies) it’s probably worth your time. The Ward may not be the revival of John Carpenter as a master of horror, but it’s a step in the right direction.

I give it 3 “LOOK BEHIND YOU”s out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


36 responses to “The Ward (9/17/12)

  1. I enjoyed ‘The Ward’. Anytime John Carpenter gets behind the camera to direct a film, I’m so there. It’s not unusual of late for JC to take a beating with critics and some fans about what he does with a film. However, almost everyone of those films, years later through the course of time, rebounds in the eyes of many of them. Good look at this one, Andy.

  2. I just had to re-check, because I’d reviewed this earlier. Great point system that is spot on. It easily falls into the ‘nothing to write home about’ category, yet wasn’t that bad a film. Good review! 🙂

  3. I don’t know, I’m a HUGE John Carpenter fan, to the point where I’m willing to defend all of his films, except “The Ward” which was dreadful, and simply saddened me, looking at where his career is at now. However, I’m glad to now that someone liked this film.

      • I enjoy “Ghosts of Mars”, I think it’s sort of a silly, out of control genre mash-up that audiences of the 1950s and 1960s would have completely ate up without question. However, there is no place in our current culture for those kind of films. I honestly can’t present a strong critical argument for defending some of what people consider to be his “lesser works” other then “I like them because I like them”.

  4. I love many of Carpenter’s films (I even watched Escape From LA seven times in the theater), but this is the only theatrically released one I haven’t seen; not because of the reviews, but because I really didn’t like Pro-Life (I couldn’t even finish it) and neither the trailer for this film nor the story looked appealing. I will see The Ward eventually. I’m just not in any hurry to do so. It’s sad that he’s doesn’t even feel inspired enough to score his own films anymore.

    Good spoiler-free review, Andy. I’ll be sure to come back here and post my thoughts on it when I do see it.

    I’m actually planning on giving Vampires a second chance this month; haven’t watched it since the theater. Couldn’t enjoy it for what it was due to how much I loved John Steakley’s novel.

  5. I watched this! I think…I so wish my memory was better. If I did indeed watch this, I believe I enjoyed it but didn’t love it as much as some of his other works. But it was fun.

  6. Thanks for the mention, Andy!! I thought this movie was much better than it was made out to be. Nothing great, but it didn’t suck, either.

  7. Glad to see someone liked it. The first ten minutes or so didn’t grab me so I haven’t returned to it, but maybe I’ll have to. Great rating system, btw.

  8. How many hits did you get from using the terms “Amber Head” and “topless” in the same post? Gawd, I wish I’d thought to do that first hahaha!

  9. Given the ad, I presume it’s available on Netflix. You didn’t ward off any viewers Andy, I’ll see I can catch it.

  10. Pingback: My September Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

  11. I thought the idea was fresh enough. The movie was good enough – the trick is, as you say, to go in with low expectations. It was enjoyable, and, quite frankly, had a few scary moments.

  12. I was really curious about this movie when it first came out, but have since forgotten about it. After reading this review my curiosity has returned…

    • It’s not one to kill yourself tracking down or anything and it’s fairly forgettable, but it’s not too shabby when all is said and done.

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