Carl the Critic: Talks about "The Ward" [Caution: Contains Plot Spoilers]
"The Ward" Movie Poster
"The Ward" Trailer
Experience/Expectations: After publishing a hub about "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" some of my readers have request to talk about movies that they felt was the worse movies ever made. These movies include "Repo! The Genetic Opera" (which I rate a 0.2 out of 10), "Twilight" (which I rate a 6.5 out of 10), "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" (haven't seen it yet), "Trolls 2" (haven't seen it yet), "A Troll in Central Park" (which I rate a 1.0 out of 10), "Baby Geniuses" (which I rate a 3.3 out of 10), "Dead Silence" (which I rate a 5.0 out of 10), "Dr. Sex" (ew!), "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park"(...That's an actual movie? I thought people were joking!), and other movies. One such movie was "The Ward" directed by... John "the Master" Carpenter!? This is the guy who inspired ME to make horror films!
So I had a look into "The Ward", after an email had said: "This movie is a retarded rip off of a much better Zach Snyder film 'Sucker Punch'!... Please terminate with extreme prejudice".
I went on IMDb.com to look in to it, and saw that it came out in 2010. Now for those of you who are intelligent enough to remember, Zach Snyder's "Sucker Punch" came out earlier this year so it couldn't have been ripped off by John Carpenter.
HOWEVER, you could make the argument that it rips off another film which I'll explain in a moment, but first I'll tell you the story and see if you can guess what I'm talking about.
Story: We meet our young protagonist Kristen who is depicted as an abused woman who is being chased by... something... but then she finds herself at a random house that she decides to set on fire because... why the hell not. This catches the eye of some police men who arrest Kristen (who was stupid enough to not run away from the scene of the crime) and just because in this world they are no jail houses or prisons they take her to North Bend Psychiatric Hospital where there are 4 other patients, all of whom are women. It is here where she meets Dr. Stringer, who asks Kristen about what she remembers prior to setting the random house on fire. But unfortunately Kristen is unable to recall the incident of setting a house on fire, but insures Dr. Stringer that she is not crazy... Uh- I'm sorry Kristen, but I can't help you out of this one because you set a random house on fire and then FORGOT about it. And by the way the fact that you don't know your own backstory leads to many questions that I hope will be answered later on in the film.
Oh and another thing, she keeps trying to escape, which again, doesn't help her case.
Slowly but surely the other girls are killed off one by one by "Bloody Mary" (and I must admit, she's pretty scary). It turns out that "Bloody Mary" is the ghost of a former patient named Alice Hudson. Kristen again goes to Dr. Stringer to convince him that the ghost of Alice Hudson is killing his patients (and that she is still NOT CRAZY!). But if you are like me, you already know what the major SPOILER is.
Critique: Okay I'll admit that it does sound like "Sucker Punch" but that's not the movie that I felt it ripped off. There is another film about an insane asylum, where our main character's back story gets slowly revealed throughout the course of the film, and is directed by a great director: "Shutter Island". It makes sense because it came out earlier in 2010 and it has a similar twist ending ("Shutter Island" is the better film, but both films are actually not bad.)
"The Ward" might not be a great film, but there are definitely things it does well, including cinematography. Every shot of the movie is carefully done, and every image for me seems to fit like a puzzle. The acting was also quite good, and the twist ending actually makes sense of all the characters (even if you've already guessed it). Overall John Carpenter did a good job with directing, it was quite clear what he wanted from the movie and everything seemed well thought out. It isn't his best work, but it was good none the less.
Despite what I said about the acting being good, the actual characters in the movie are kind of annoying, especially Kristen who is trying to prove she isn't crazy, while still doing and saying crazy things. The film can be padded in the story as it tries to tell us Kristen and Alice's back story, to the point when we can finally guess what the SPOILER is. You know what, Let's just jump to the SPOILER so I can get to the rating.
SPOILER: Okay, here it is! It's the spoiler that you'd expect from any horror film that takes place in an insane asylum, with a character who tries to convince us that he/she isn't crazy, and the twist is...comma...stalling tactic... SHE IS CRAZY! Kristen has a bad case of DID (Dual Identity Disorder), and in fact her name isn't Kristen! No her name is...comma...Spoiler alert... Alice Hudson! ("What a twist!")
That sound you hear is all the Horror Movie Freaks of the world going "I knew it!" It's one of those twists that has been done many times before and it's hard to miss it. One of the biggest clues is the fact that Kristen, and the other 4 girls don't have a significant back story, and yet Alice Hudson actually does. The girls of the asylum whom we are introduced to also only have one name as oppose to Alice Hudson who has both a first and last name.
This gives the film a great opportunity for film students, who are interested in the horror genre, to analyze the film to make connections with the killing of the girls to Alice Hudson regaining her sanity. Which is quite clever in its own way, but for those who are not film student (or think the same as one) would not appreciate this complex metaphor and might find "The Ward" frustrating, so I can see why someone might not like it, but I for one do appreciate it.
Overall: Not a great film, but not a bad one either, it's just okay. I gave it a 7.5 out of 10.
"The Ward" on IMDb.com
- The Ward (2010) - IMDb
Directed by John Carpenter. With Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker, Laura-Leigh. A thriller centered on an institutionalized young woman who becomes terrorized by a ghost.