Tuesday, 10 January 2012

REVIEW: The Ward

After years of doing nothing, John Carpenter returns in a horror that's horrible for reasons that aren't good.

It's been a while since after the first 5 minutes of a film, I can guess the rest of it in what is the most boring, slow-paced unexciting horror film or 'psychological thriller' I've seen. The only thrill was when it was over.

This was the worst kind of film for Carpenter to return on. It's a simple, predictable narrative that is completely uninspiring and lacks tension. What Carpenter surpasses at is creating that tension and release, he's a maestro at it, he tries to summon it up here but unfortunately in uncreative, boring ways that lack any kind of satisfying result. There were probably two bits where I jumped but at no point was I scared and at no point was I enjoying the film.

The story is about a girl who has been put into a psychiatric ward after burning down a house, whilst inside the ward she starts seeing monsters and her (hot) friends in there start disappearing. What follows on is the clumsy, atypical horror-fare that Carpenter should be trying to distance himself from, instead he becomes a pastiche of himself. He wrote the rule-book on modern horror and follows it step by step, forgetting that there have been a million films like this since. His slow pace is something that I would normally like in his films but this time the slow transitions, the two dimensional characters and generally everything about this makes me want to kill myself.

There are a few positive things, Jared Harris being one. There are a few good ol' scares, but it's by no means scary. Amber Heard does her best as the protagonist but apart from that, there really isn't much to this film. It's watchable, but from one of the most distinguished horror directors around, this really could not be more of a let down, let's just hope he's finding his feet again before he wows us with a real comeback.

Rating: 3/10

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