The name John Carpenter means a whole lot to me. From the 70's ("Assault of Precinct 13", "Dark Star" and "Halloween"), the 80's (too many to name), the 90's ("In the Mouth of Madness") and the last decade ("Masters of Horror: Cigarette Burns"), he has practically defined cinematic fear and awesomeness. So that's one of the reasons why his latest, "The Ward", kind of disappointed me. Sure, he's let me down in the past, but the fact that he let me down with what is essentially not that bad of a movie, just a frustrating one.
In 1966, Kristine (Amber Heard) is arrested and sent to a mental hospital after burning down a house. Well, she's in for nasty weather, as a ghost seems to be haunting the place, taking girls who are hoping to leave and killing them, and haunting and attacking a select group of girls in the process. So, who is this ghost? Why is she killing people and haunting Kristine? Is Kristine all she seems to be?
To be fair, "The Ward" has a great score by Mark Killian that reminded me of Dario Argento movies, the direction is fine, and the acting is all around good. To be honest, it's not that bad of a movie, as there's plenty to like about it, yet they end up dropping the ball on several occasions. For example, there are too many plot holes in the movie, not to mention unanswered questions. Why are the orderlies and the doctors not recognizing that people are vanishing? When the final twist (which I'll get to in the next paragraph) occurs, you wonder to yourself "so, why dfidn't they tell her this in the beginning?"
This leads to the next complaint, which is a really bad and unnecessary twist nearing the end. Granted, you do get hints about it early on, but it comes out of left field so much that I just looked at the scream and muttered "what the fuck?" to myself loudly. It's also the kind of twist I really hate, which is the type that comes nearing the end, is explained exactly to point, and ends up leaving the viewer more angry then intrigued.
It's a shame too, as I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. I mean come on, it's John Carpenter, I should like this. Sadly, while not exactly "Masters of Horror: Pro-Life", it still left me wanting more. Chalk it up as a misfire.