Well, John Carpenter was this country’s most famous and influential director of horror movies for most of the last quarter century. THE WARD is Carpenter’s first feature film in a decade. And though it’s a low-budget movie that Carpenter didn’t write himself, it still shows a master at work.
The plot, I’ll admit, isn’t anything you haven’t seen before. It’s a 1960s-set haunted mental hospital story in which Amber Heard plays a woman who’s been committed for reasons unknown, and Jared Harris plays the head doctor. But just look at the way Carpenter directs this fairly ordinary scene. The rhythmic editing and all those low-angle shots give it an old-school creepiness.
Clip 1/ Kristen meets Dr. Stringer
THE WARD has more than its share of shocks and gore, but what the film does best—and what Carpenter has always excelled at—is a sense of foreboding and desperation.
THE WARD is by no means a perfect film, but Carpenter has an unparalleled gift for constructing a sequence, and his sense of lighting, his way with moving the camera and his ability to invoke an icy atmosphere come through even when the script, or the acting, don’t. The end of the film is a good example: while the actual twists might seem hokey, the way Carpenter films something as simple as the inside of a dumb-waiter is chilling enough to make up for it. I’ve got some reservations, but it’s a thumbs up from me.
Yeah, the twists are beyond hokey. I mean they are laughable. It’s seriously so ridiculous that they won’t want us to go there with it. I mean clearly any movie set in a mental hospital; they’re going to toy with perspective and perception of reality, and it’s going to make us guess, you know, who is sane and who is not and who to trust and make us doubt ourselves. What happens here with who these people are, I’m not going to say of course, is just ridiculous. I was laughing, like really, we’re going to go there with it?
But, you know, as they say it’s not, it’s not what’s it about; it’s how it’s about it. You know, for me this is all about…
Profound. Uh, this is for me, all about Carpenter’s direction. I don’t think…
It’s not about characterization that’s for sure, because each woman is just like this one-note type, and it’s not about any kind of a development of them at all.
I don’t, I don’t understand how you could have given a thumbs up to INSIDIOUS several months ago on the show.
Cause that was fun! INSIDIOUS is intense and fun and atmospheric.
INSIDIOUS is not fun. And, you know what, it is not atmospheric. It is sloppy. This is atmospheric. This is how you make a horror film.
This has its moments; a couple of jump scares.
The, the scene where, here I completely non-scary scene, the scene where the inmates dance to The New Beat’s “Run, Baby, Run”
That’s one scene. Alright next up…
Worth the price of admission alone.
Not at all.