If I had a nickel for every movie set in a mental institution, I would have a lot of nickels. The Ward is a mediocre and stereotypical psychological horror from the master himself, John Carpenter. He’s one of my favorite directors with flawless filmography. I could basically go down the list of each and every one of his movies and tell you why I think it’s awesome. The Thing, Prince of Darkness, and subversive masterpiece They Live are the ones I would like to single out. His last project, Ghosts of Mars didn’t do so well at the box office but I liked it.
We had to wait ten long years for his next movie and for personal reasons, I will stop myself from writing anything else. Now, The Ward is not a bad movie, it’s just too mundane and familiar. It’s perfect for one viewing and that’s it. I guess the twist with the story being set in 1966 didn’t really pay off. Also, you will have to suspend your belief pretty much immediately. Mostly because of the question of how five hot girls found their way into a mental institution. This is all you need to know about the story.
I mean, everything you think is going to happen is going to happen. And all the characters you think are going to show up, do show up. So, it’s perfect for guessing and playing little games either by yourself or with some friends. You can definitely sense that old-school vibe with this one. Carpenter makes the most of this premise even generating some decent scares and intense moments. Additionally, we all know just how fucked were these places back then. Not to mention the methods used to “cure” the patients.
Kristen is a young girl with some mental health issues. Police catch up with her just after she set fire to an abandoned house. They take her to Coos Bay Psychiatric Hospital where she will be under the watchful eye of Dr. Stringer. However, that place has a dark history. Prior to her arrival, one of the patients died under mysterious circumstances. And it doesn’t take long for the history to repeat itself…
Of course, out of those five hot girls, Amber Heard is the hottest one. And she can also act as well, making her one hell of a promising young actress. Opposite of her, we have Jared Harris, whom you might remember from Mad Men. He was also great. However, there was something about Lyndsy Fonseca’s performance as Iris that stayed with me. And I’m not just talking about “that scene”. And before you start thinking sexy thoughts, let me tell you that there will be no nudity in The Ward.
Finally, if you’re looking for something similar and yet a bit different, I recommend you check out American Horror Story: Asylum. I know this is a television show but it’s just so damn good and the story takes place in 1964 so it has the same atmosphere as this movie.