A young girl named Kristen (Amber Heard) awakens in a psychiatric hospital after setting a farmhouse ablaze, and finds herself stalked by a malevolent ghost in this psychological shocker from celebrated horror director John Carpenter (Halloween). Badly battered and seemingly stricken with amnesia, Kristen forges a fragile friendship with fellow patients Sarah (Danielle Panabaker), Iris (Lyndsy Fonseca), Emily (Mamie Gummer), and Zoey (Laura-Leigh) as her compassionate therapist, Dr. Stringer (Jared Harris), works to uncover the source of her mysterious condition. Later, at night, when the lights in her remote ward go dim, Kristen is confronted by an imposing phantom that seems intent on dragging her screaming into the darkness. Eventually, the other girls in the ward begin to vanish, one by one. Now, the harder Kristen fights to avoid falling prey to her shadowy pursuer, the more convinced she becomes that no patient who's checked in to North Bend Psychiatric Hospital ever comes out alive. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Director: John Carpenter
Cast: Amber Heard, Danielle Panabaker, Mamie Gummer, Lyndsy Fonseca, Jared Harris
Release Date: Jul 08, 2011
Rated R for violence and disturbing images
Runtime: 1 hr. 28 min.
Genres: Horror, Suspense/Thriller
John Carpenter took a 9 year hiatus from feature filmmaking after making the dreadful Ghost of Mars. Carpenter’s return was mildly anticipated because he’s created a handful of favorites including one of my favorite horror films ever, his remake of The Thing. That being said, even the most diehard fan can’t ignore his obvious decline during the 90’s even though I am one of the few that liked Vampires. The Ward unfortunately just continues the decline, it’s biggest sin is that’s it not really a mess on the scale of Ghost of Mars but it’s just so bland and uninspired that you are left wondering why he chose this project to break his hiatus. The film is directed decently and it flows nicely but it’s just about as vanilla as it gets. Nothing about it has any identity or soul, it’s a mindless run through a plot that’s rudimentary and never really all that engaging. Amber Heard is incredibly easy on the eyes but her performance along with the rest of the cast, outside of Jared Harriss who looks like he’s really trying, is bland and nondescript. At best I can see it as a throwback to the “woman in cages” exploitation films from the 70’s but even that is kind of a stretch. It’s still better than Synder’s horrid Sucker Punch but that’s not really much of a compliment. Carpenter’s general sense of disinterest is so palpable that you can almost here him yawning in the background or maybe that’s you.