Thursday, October 16, 2014

Horrors of October - The Ward (#16)

The Ward (2010)

A presumably escaped mental patient (Amber Heard) is picked up by the police and sent to the titled place, a closed-off section of a psychiatric hospital where a group of young women are being systemically picked off by a ghost. Director John Carpenter has not made a certified good feature since his 1995 masterpiece IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS. THE WARD was his first new film in 9 years and it certainly proved that he's clearly riding out the luster of his name because it is really terrible. This should be a bland direct-to-DVD feature done by someone breaking into the business, not from the hands of a former horror icon. After watching this, I want to go right up to his nose at a con and scream, "What have you done, you hack?!", as I'm being justifiably tased. THE WARD possesses absolutely no artistry, no ingenuous ways of terror. Jump scares, white flashes, and music stings; these three cheap spook elements are all this piece of crap has. Then, there's the pitiful story, which is extremely predictable when it comes to its so-called "earth-shattering" twist. Spoiler: Amber Heard is one of many, and I don't mean a good actor here. Of course the twist utterly makes no sense, especially considering that many previous scenes would not be visually or creatively possible, including the kills themselves. Further slowing matters is the utter lack of audience empathy for the girls; we aren't given any reason beyond their physical looks to give a shit about their plight. Oh no, that nurse and orderly have mean mugs and bad delivery. That means I must care now, but first, a shower scene and a trip through the hospital's man-sized vents. Keep basking yourself in Carpenter's early work, because his talents have now dissipated.


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