I believe it’s always important to go see a film without any prejudices or noise coming from other people’s opinion, and instead enjoy it and judge it under your own terms. So here’s a rather neutral review of The Ward, with very good foundation to help counteract the negative ones we posted earlier this week:
“John Carpenter’s The Ward” is a genial, entertaining ghost story, featuring a strong cast, a great environment, and some genuinely scary sequences. Is it a new masterpiece from the master? Nope. It’s not personal enough for that to even be a possibility But it’s character-driven, it’s a slow-burn, and when the big reveal finally comes, it’s not particularly fresh, but it’s also not a cheat. It makes sense in the context of everything else we’ve seen in he film. I was relieved to be enjoying the film, but not surprised. This may not be an “OMG! Forget about ‘The Thing’!” moment, but neither is it an “OMG! Remember ‘Village of The Damned’?!” moment, either.
“The Ward” tells the story of Kristen (Amber Heard), a girl who is picked up by the police outside of a house she’s just burnt down. She’s taken to a mental hospital where she’s placed under the supervision of Dr. Stringer (Jared Harris), who is known for his work with adolescent girls with emotional difficulty. He is determined to help her, and the film is smart enough to play his motives ambiguous. Kristen meets the other girls on the ward, each of them saddled with their own issues. Iris (Lyndsy Fonseca), Sarah (Danielle Panabaker), Emily (Mamie Gummer), and Zoey (Laura-Leigh) may be types, but where this movie succeeds while something like “It’s Kind Of A Funny Story” fails is in making us believe that these are people who are actually damaged enough to be in a hospital ward. Mamie Gummer bears a striking resemblance to her mother, Meryl Streep, and she gives perhaps the most dedicated performance in the film. Her Emily is the one who is constantly pushing buttons, testing everyone else, trying to see if she can cause blow-ups. Each of the girls makes a strong impression, and Carpenter manages to do a nice job of creating a sense of community among them.
Read the whole review here.