The Movie Waffler New Release Review - The Ward | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - The Ward

Directed by: John Carpenter
Starring: Amber Heard, Jared Harris, Danielle Panabaker, Mamie Gummer

Arrested for arson, Heard is interned in a psychiatric ward which appears to be haunted by the ghost of a former inmate.
Recently myself and a couple of fellow geeks had a season of John Carpenter movies. We decided to watch them in backwards order, beginning with his "Masters Of Horror" episodes and ending with "The Resurrection Of Bronco Billy", his oscar winning student short. There was a very good reason for us choosing this tactic. Carpenter's work has been in such decline since the late eighties that had we started at the beginning of his career we probably would have given up halfway. Having something to look forward to got us through shit like "Vampires", "Village Of The Damned" and "Memoirs Of An Invisible Man".
Armed with the familiarity of Carpenter's career path and having read scathing reviews I went into this expecting the worst. What I got was far far beyond what I believed the "worst" could actually be. This is so bad I could safely say that in a years time I'll be awarding this turd Rotten Waffle Awards for Film, Director and Screenplay. If I awarded bad editing this would most definitely storm the category. I can't remember the last time I saw a movie so badly cut together and it makes me think that when John was finished on the set he didn't care to involve himself in the post-production.
Apart from the always reliable Heard, the cast is the worst ensemble I've seen in a long time. Even by scream queen standards the young actresses here are shockingly bad. Jared Harris is far too good for this shit and can't hide his embarrassment.
Unusually for Carpenter he hands the musical duties to a relative newcomer Mark Kilian. When Ennio Morriconne scored "The Thing" and Jack Nitzsche did likewise with "Starman" they both came up with scores that sounded identical to what Carpenter probably would have come up with. In the mid eighties this was a good tactic, unfortunately Kilian pulls the same trick here. His score sounds like a parody of Carpenter, kind of what might be heard in a Wayans Brothers spoof of his movies. The main riff is blatantly ripped off from Goblin's "Suspiria" theme. Whereas that's one of the creepiest musical themes in any movie, this is one of the most amateurish.
As I've said many times, when brothers collaborate on a movie, nine times out of ten the results are a disaster. Here it's the Rasmussen brothers who have cobbled a mess of a script together. If I had ended a primary school essay with the twist we're given here, my English teacher would probably have torn up the pages in disgust at it's lack of effort. I won't give it away but yes it probably is exactly what you're thinking.
Have I anything positive to say? Well there are a handful of nicely composed shots that show Carpenter still knows how to use the widescreen frame. Now if only he still cared about creating atmosphere, suspense and spinning an entertaining yarn.