Rewatched Jul 09, 2012
Josh Keown’s review:
"This treatment should be beneficial."
-Dr. Stringer (Jared Harris)
John Carpenter has already established his name as one of the masters of the horror genre, having produced renowned classics such as Halloween (1978) or The Thing (1982), both of which redefined the genre in their own way. He is also responsible for slightly underrated, but equally brilliant films including The Fog (1980), They Live (1988) and the excellent In the Mouth of Madness (1994). That being said, he is accountable for the frankly less-than average Village of the Damned (1995), remake and the truly awful Ghosts of Mars (2001).
However, I approached The Ward with a certain amount of optimism, especially given his last works were episodes in the Masters of Horror television series (including the terrific Cigarette Burns (2005) episode.).
Unfortunately, The Ward is a disappointing endeavour for the horror maestro. Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily say it is a bad film, it certainly isn’t anything new. The acting is fine, but nothing special, and some of the girls just don’t seem crazy enough to be in a mental hospital. Now, I wasn’t expecting it to be One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (although the nurse does seem determined to imitate Nurse Ratched.), but it could have at least been a little better. On a more positive note, the creature design is fairly good, primarily because it is a nice return to ‘Old School’ effects rather than unbearably bad CGI.
Overall, it’s not terrible, but it’s also no return to the sterling form of yesteryear for Carpenter. Everything feels as though it’s walking down a well beaten path, and has been done before, but better. Furthermore, the conclusion will be seen a mile off by any fan of the genre and this only makes it all the more unsatisfying.
VERDICT; Slightly better than Ghosts of Mars but a far cry away from Carpenter’s better works, The Ward is a watchable if forgettable entry into the genre.
2.5/5 or 5/10