The Ward: Unoriginal Prototype Horror Film
Amber HeardDanielle Panabaker...
In 1 Cinema
Set in the 1960s, The Ward tells the story of Kirsten; a
young woman who wakes up to find herself in a psychiatric hospital with her
body covered in bruises and cuts. Kirsten is housed in the room of a recently
deceased patient, Tammy. The circumstances of Tammy’s death are unknown, and
Kirsten begins to suspect that her belief that a ghost is haunting her
may be linked to Tammy’s suspicious death.
With acclaimed horror director John
Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) on board, expectations were always
going to be high; he is after all considered to be one of few true masters in
the horror genre. After a nine-year absence, he has finally returned with The Ward as his comeback feature film.
Unfortunately, it’s not a worthy addition to his line of work. The problems
start with what is a weak plot; a young girl being haunted by a ghost isn’t
exactly original material.
Casting horror films can be troublesome,
and unfortunately, Heard fails to carry the story as the lead. Her dramatic stares
and over-the-top screams quickly become annoying and grate at your patience. Harris,
on the other hand, gives a standout performance as Dr. Stringer. Though he is
continually hopeful of curing Kirsten, his motives are always unknown, and so
the enigma of his character will have audiences on the edge of their seats.
Despite its weaknesses and
over-the-top sequences, Carpenter still has the talented touch of bringing out
the smallest details and making it work for the twists and turns of the plot. At times, the film builds as a thriller, and
Carpenter’s skills as a storyteller still shine through even if the material is
not the best he has worked with.
In what is a painfully saturated
market, The Ward suffers from the
same flaws as the endless stream of disappointing horror films. It’s very
difficult to create something original out of the combination of a mysterious
death, an unadjusted naive girl and a psychiatric hospital, yet we have come to
know these as almost intrinsic elements of a standard horror films. Unfortunately, The Ward fails to produce anything that
makes it stand out, and it is instantly forgettable.