Dash Reviews…John Carpenter’s The Ward

Dash Jordan here, and not even Paul W.S. Anderson can stop me on this most wonderful time of the year…suck it, Santa. With that said, I think it’s time we move from the infamous to the legendary once again. I’ve mentioned director John Carpenter a few times, most notably in my Top Ten John Carpenter Films. However, I will admit that there may have been a few other films I have missed. Like ‘Prince Of Darkness’, ‘The Fog’, ‘Starman’, ‘Memoirs Of An Invisible Man’, ‘Village Of The Damned’ and ‘Ghosts Of Mars’. Once again, it’s all just my opinion and I can completely understand how it feels to have your favorite film left out. But, also understand that just because I left some pretty good films out of my Top Ten doesn’t mean I love them any less…except for ‘Memoirs Of An Invisible Man’, ‘Village Of The Damned’ and ‘Ghosts Of Mars’. However, there was one film from Carpenter that sadly flew under my radar. Quite honestly, it’s been driving me crazy.

Consider this movie…one hell of an Honorable Mention.

‘The Ward’ is a 2010 psychological horror film directed by the living legend himself, John Carpenter. Since this is Carpenter’s film since 2001’s abysmal ‘Ghosts Of Mars’, it seems as though the film has left many fans and casual fans split. Some people consider ‘The Ward’ to be an uninspired mess from a tired old man, while others praise the movie and consider it to be John Carpenter’s long-awaited comeback. So, what do I think? Well, let’s dig in!

   The movie is about a disturbed young woman named Kristen, who is thrown into a mental institution with four other mental patients and are all trying to escape the hospital, as well as the clutches of a violent and vengeful spirit. First off, I would like to point out how hard it must be to come up with original concepts for a horror movie in this day and age. So when people complain about how ‘The Ward’ is unoriginal and that they’ve seen the same plot done better in other films, it can come of as a bit selfish in my opinion. Of course we’ve seen movies like this before and sure they were done better. However, in a world where almost every film in and out of the horror genre is a remake or based on a book, it’s still a bit more refreshing to see familiar territory done in an entertaining way or at least add a few layers.

Despite all the familiar horror movie tropes, this movie still manages to deliver when it comes to acting and style. The majority of the cast do a superb job, even with such a predictable script to work off of. The two stars who sold the movie for though would have to be Amber Heard as Kristen, and Jared Harris as Dr. Stringer. As far as the look of the film, I liked it. Sure it may look a little more modern, just it still has that John Carpenter feel to it. From the lighting to the camera angles, I just felt so nostalgic as it reminded me of the director’s past works.

Once again, I can understand why some people may be turned off by ‘The Ward’. On the other hand, when you take a minute to look back at what John Carpenter had given us back in the late 90s, you could at least appreciate the fact that it has been so long since we’ve seen this acclaimed director show a bit more effort with this long-awaited entry in his filmography. To answer the question that I know everyone is curious about, I have to say that I can’t take either side when it comes to this movie. It’s an above-average thriller, but at least I was entertained almost the whole way through. So no, I do not view ‘The Ward’ as the work of a tired legend trying to rekindle his creative genius, nor do I see it as a bad movie. What we’ve basically have here is a straightforward John Carpenter film, which is all a fanboy like me wanted. Thanks John.

   Well, on with the rest of October. We’re halfway there and living on a prayer. Until next time, Gotta Dash!

Rating: 6.5/10

Written by Shane Moose

Videos & Photos:

The Ward(owned by ARC Entertainment, XLrator Media, Echo Lake Entertainment, A Bigger Boat & FilmNation Entertainment)

The Thing(1982) (owned by Universal Pictures & Turman-Foster Company)

Big Trouble In Little China(owned by 20th Century Fox, TAFT Entertainment Pictures & SLM Production Group)

Body Bags(owned by 187 Corp. & Showtime Networks)

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