Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Ward (2010) - Tricks and Treats Mini-Marathon

On the Menu:
THE WARD (2010)
Amber Heard, Jared Harris, Mamie Gummer, Laura-Leigh, Lyndsy Fonseca, Danielle Panabaker, Sali Sayler and Susanna Burney. Directed by John Carpenter. Run time: 88 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite:
I purchased this on a whim. I was like, "Wow, Amber Heard. Directed by John Carpenter, huh? Okay." I couldn't remember the last time Carpenter actually directed a movie. A quick IMDb search revealed the answer: 2001. Unfortunately, that film was the ghastly GHOSTS OF MARS (1 star). But, the guy is also responsible for HALLOWEEN, THE THING and BIG TROUBLE LITTLE CHINA, so I took my chances with this one.

Kristen (Heard) is taken to a mental institution where the other residents are being terrorized by a ghost.

Tough to Swallow:
Ominous, empty hallway shots are gratuitous for a film that's only 88 minutes in length.

A multi-girl shower scene with only side-boob? Come on. You were working with an R-rating here.

The DVD doesn't have subtitles. Not that it's in a foreign language, but sometimes I like to catch all the dialogue (especially when watching late at night while trying not to wake the wife).

The DVD commentary from Carpenter and Harris doesn't really focus on the movie itself. They talk more about directing and acting in general.

Pretty sure the credit for Taper/Plaster should be Taper/Plasterer.

Something to Chew On:
 Carpenter is known for composing the music for his own films, but Mark Kilian filled in as composer for this movie. Carpenter also didn't have a writing credit like he normally does.

Carpenter says this is the first film he didn't shoot in Panavision.

The movie was actually shot in an abandoned mental institution.

Gummer is Meryl Streep's daughter. Jared Harris is the son of the late, great Richard Harris.

It's starts out as an interesting horror/mystery. People start disappearing and Kristen is searching for answers. Carpenter throws in numerous jump scares. Admittedly, I jumped once. I could sense it coming, but the scene was taking so long that I gave up on it. That's when he got me.

Heard reminds me of a blonde Jessica Biel. However, she might actually be a better actress. Problem is they both pick underwhelming movies. The first time I saw Heard was recently in the craptastic DRIVE ANGRY. Maybe THE RUM DIARY will turn things around for her.

The final reveal didn't surprise me at all. I'll admit I was expecting something more sinister. It's really difficult to talk about film comparisons without giving away the ending of THE WARD. You'll feel like you've seen this one before if you're a fan of Mangold, Shyamalan and/or Scorsese.

It's an okay psychological thriller with cheap scares.


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