31 Days of Reviews: The Ward (2010)

This movie begins with a really interesting opening sequence, which is something I’ve noticed a lot in the horror movies I’ve been watching. Often times though, this amazing intro gives way to a movie that is honestly pretty bad. Luckily that wasn’t the case with this movie, at least for the most part.

The Ward is directed by John Carpenter, and in many ways it rings back to classic horror of the 70s and 80s. This is due in part to the score, the camera shots and the overall feel that the movie gives off. It’s very interesting and it works with the time period of the movie and the subject matter pretty well.

As a woman, the premise of this movie was terrifying in itself. Set in 1966, The Ward focuses on a young woman who gets wrongfully incarcerated in a psychiatric ward. It’s pretty well known just how terrible mental illness was explicitly treated in the past, and for women it was worse. Women would find themselves locked up for not following traditional gender stereotypes, being hyperactive, being defiant and the like.

In the case of this young woman, played by Amber Heard, she starts the movie out setting a fire and burning down a house. She is subsequently incarcerated, where she meets a group of women with a variety of undisclosed reasons of why they are in the ward with her.  Two of these women are familiar faces Danielle Panabaker and Lyndsy Fonseca.

As the movie continues, it is revealed that the ward is haunted by the ghost of a woman who died in the ward, and this ghost is making it her mission to ensure that no other women get released. Any woman who comes close to being released gets murdered, much to the mystery of the other patients and lack of caring of the nurses and doctors.

The pacing was pretty decent throughout the film, if you take into account and choose to ignore the number of cross dissolves and fade to blacks. It’s understandable that a movie like this would have a need for passage of time. When these women are so heavily medicated, I’m sure it feels like that for them too, with loads of time missing from their lives.

I would probably say that my biggest problem though was that some of the dialogue seemed really awkward to me. I wouldn’t say it was necessarily the acting and delivery of the lines, but maybe the lines themselves? It’s a lot more complex than how I could ever really phrase it. I don’t know if it’s genuinely a problem I had or not.

There is a pretty big twist at the end of the movie, which I’ll admit I didn’t see coming. In retrospect, I probably should have, but you know.. could have, should have, would have and all that. I liked the ending a lot, minus the final jump scare.

Overall, The Ward was interesting. I won’t say it was fantastic and everyone should go watch it right this instant, but if it ever comes your way, I think it’s worth watching. It is available on Netflix.

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