zondag 29 mei 2011

The Ward (2010)

John Carpenter... i don't think he'll ever dissapoint me. He has stuffed my youth with amazing special effects from The Thing, he made me shit myself while watching Halloween and he made me giggle like a bitch with They Live. Earlier this week he made me shiver because off some fog bank (guess what movie that is) and now he has done it again with his latest creation: ''The Ward''. This time Amber Heard is getting the crazy fried right out of her head.

We follow Kristen (played by Amber Heard), a young girl that gets locked up in an institution where she's being terrorized by a ghost. She meets four other girls who aren't really that usefull to her but she's determined to get out of there and that's where it starts to get interesting. I guess you could see it as an escape-from-imprisonment-movie with a ghost theme. And that turns out...great!
Right from the start it feels really traditional. Some classic cinematography (very patient and smooth) and an overall classy look! Carpenter isn't trying to be 'hip', 'cool' or 'down with the program' (that's what old people think is cool). He's just trying to stick to his roots while relying on some modern input to get (just a little) appeal for the younger viewers. And that's fine, it almost never spoils any of the atmosphere. And i say 'almost' with a reason.

Because the ghost is a bit to much 'in mahh face!'. And i don't like it if ghosts get all up in mahh face! But seriously, when we find ourselves near the end of the movie, it just boils over. I think he wanted to do too much with too little time to spare. I just wish he had shown even bigger balls by making a two-hour lasting feature and really get into the character more. But let's go back a little.
I know for a fact that Carpenter likes strong women and he's not holding back on that part. Amber Heard plays the role of a pretty clever protagonist, and that takes some great writing to keep it going. I don't mind it if they make stupid decisions in horror films just as long as they end up in a bad situation that is fun to watch. Kristen actualy has some nice ideas to get out of there, and it's only a question of time before she finds the perfect way to escape. And that gets pretty exciting from time to time. She definitely does a great job portraying a strong yet haunted individual and i sure hope to see Amber in more horror movies to come.

The most important factor in creating the tense atmosphere has to be the location and Carpenter's amazing gift to give it the perfect uneasy vibe that will keep your eyes peeled and butthole tightened. He really knows how to work that place, gliding through the hallways and just taking the time to show us everything. It sounds so easy but we barely see that kind of stuff nowadays. There's only one thing that can break this...clichés.
They're lurking around every corner, at all times. And with such a limited location where we get one attemptive escape after another, it's hard to dodge all the posible clichés on it's path. And i can't denie that Carpenter actually got predictable with the scares. He has some fine moments and i'll give him kudos for that, but he isn't innovative enough to get the most out of the haunting theme. Which takes over control for the last part, so that's a sad little bad spot that i found. 

I'm glad to say that Carpenter is back. It was almost everything i could've hoped for and it feels really rewarding to finally see a genuine horrorfilm that knows how to be thrilling every now and then. The story has an unsuspected (?) plottwist near the end which i'm not sure if i liked it that much. I can't say i hated it, but it didn't feel like it was necessary. I liked the story as it was, simple yet fascinating.

The Ward is traditional and classy, and that should be worth your time.

Score: 89/100 


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