Corridors of the mind, like a labyrinth, leading nowhere; uncontrollable bursts of emotion (Run Baby Run) as respite from the solitude of confinement (physical and psychological); persecution and self-loathing finding an outlet through a generic supernatural mystery and its knife-through-the-heart twist. The Ward is not only a genuinely heartbreaking, multi-layered psychodrama, but arguably Carpenter's greatest work.
Johnny C's "The Ward" reminds me of my breakfast this morning. A no-name bowl of brown sugar oat meal. It is was if I was being forced to eat this bland bowl of mush by my boy Johnny C who is holding a gun to dome. Then when I finally finished the the mush he tells me that it wasn't actually brown sugar but, it was actually Apple Blue Berry... I HATE APPLE BLUE BERRY! Johnny C please make another show, you are my boy
Part of me wants to hate this movie on principle, since its ultimate destination is the hackiest of hack horror cliches. But hell if it doesn't also prove that Carpenter can still direct, with an expert sense of motion, color, editing, and group dynamics. Even if he no longer seems to have the ability or inclination to land a noteworthy story, the spark is still there, and it shines when he sticks to the verities.
[Spoilers] The music is reminiscent of early Argento, but unfortunately the rest of the film reminds me of the Italian's more recent efforts. Clunky, poorly characterised and with a "twist" written five miles ahead in flashing neon for anyone who has watched "Shutter Island".
A masterclass in B-picture filmmaking. Carpenter takes on as pulpy and ridiculous a script as he has ever worked, and enlivens it with a ferocious sense of purpose. As with the best of Carpenter's work, even if this may not necessarily match up with it, every shot frames its subjects and moves with supreme confidence and disarming ease.
As much as I respect John Carpenter, I probably wouldn't have queued this up if my Mubi buddies hadn't said such great things about it. Sadly, I can't say I was as taken with "The Ward" as them. This seemed like Carpenter doing his homage to Italian horror - but that shouldn't mean you rip off your best bits from Brian De Palma and giallos. I must admit Lyndsy Fonseca makes for one unbearably cute mental patient.
Maybe my standards have sunk, but I really enjoyed it. Old fashioned, sure, but it was the first movie I've seen that really earned its particular ending gambit. I don't know, I really had fun and even more so knowing I was rooting for John Carpenter.