The Ward (film)
UK One sheet for the film.
|Directed by||John Carpenter|
|Produced by||Doug Mankoff
|Written by||Michael Rasmussen
|Music by||Mark Kilian|
|Editing by||Patrick McMahon|
|Studio||Echo Lake Entertainment
A Bigger Boat
|Distributed by||ARC Entertainment
|Running time||89 minutes|
|Budget||$10 million (estimated)|
|Box office||$7,760 (US)
The Ward is a 2010 American psychological horror film directed by John Carpenter. It stars Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker and Jared Harris. It is Carpenter's first full-length feature film since Ghosts of Mars in 2001.
The story revolves around a young institutionalized woman named Kristen (Amber Heard) who is haunted by a mysterious and deadly zombie-like ghost. As danger creeps closer, she comes to realize that this ghost might be darker than anything she ever could have imagined.
At the North Bend Psychiatric Hospital in 1966, a young patient named Tammy is attacked and killed by an unseen force during the night.
Kristen (Amber Heard), a troubled young woman sets fire to an abandoned farmhouse. The local police take her to the psychiatric hospital. She is taken to the ward where she meets other patients: Iris (Lyndsy Fonseca), Sarah (Danielle Panabaker), Emily (Mamie Gummer), and Zoey (Laura Leigh), and is given Tammy's old room. She meets Dr. Stringer (Jared Harris), her therapist, but is unable to recall anything about her past. She later attempts to escape, only to be caught and returned to her cell. Waking up in the middle of the night, she sees a horribly disfigured person staring at her. While she is with Iris and Emily, Kristen sees two people looking at her from Dr. Stringer's office, but the girls give no clue as to who they are. Whilst taking a shower, Kristen is attacked by the disfigured figure, but upon telling the nurse this, she is drugged and put through intense electroshock therapy. On a session with Dr.Stringer, Iris mentions Tammy but is then immediately halted by the doctor.
In Iris's last therapy session, Dr. Stringer uses hypnotherapy to unlock her hidden memories. After the session, Iris is killed by the disfigured zombie. Kristen tries to find out what happened to her friend and finds Iris's sketchbook, where there is a sketch of the zombie that had attacked her, with the name Alice Hudson written on top. It is revealed that Alice was a patient at the hospital. That night, despite Sarah and Zoey's warning that it is nearly impossible to leave, Kristen and Emily attempt to find Iris and escape. However, the alarm is triggered. Kristen is thwarted by Alice's zombie and blacks out, reawakening back in her room, and it is revealed that Emily was caught.
On her way to her final appointment with Dr. Stringer, Sarah flirts with a nurse, but is rejected. She then goes to the other girls and asks Kristen what happened to her plan and also seemingly gives her a clue that they did not find Iris because they were "not looking into the right places." After bickering with Emily, she is electrocuted to death by Alice's zombie. Kristen, noticing Sarah is missing and finding out that Zoey's doll formerly belonged to Alice, she forces Zoey to tell her what is happening. She finds out that all of the girls had killed Alice, led by Tammy, because Alice constantly hurt them. Now the ghost is after them for revenge. Emily attempts to commit suicide, thinking she is doomed. Kristen attempts to stop her, but Alice's zombie appears again and kills Emily by slashing her throat. Kristen plans a last attempt to escape by holding Zoey as a pretend hostage. Their attempt is thwarted by Roy. She is drugged and placed in a straitjacket. However, she manages to escape and takes Zoey with her to try and break out one last time. Zoey is captured by the zombie and killed off-screen. Kristen manages to kill the zombie, and finds a file on Alice Hudson, which details her treatments and all of the girl's names, including Kristen's.
Dr. Stringer then reveals the truth: Kristen's real name is Alice Hudson. Throughout the film, various flashbacks are shown of a young girl in chains, about to be sexually abused by an unknown man. The girl in the flashbacks is Alice herself, who was kidnapped from her home eight years ago. Alice was left chained up for two months in the basement of the same farmhouse "Kristen" had burned down; in order to survive the past torture, she created different personalities. Alice is suffering from multiple personality disorder, creating Tammy, Zoey, Sarah, Iris and Emily. Over time, Alice's own personality became so overwhelmed by that of the others that she became lost. Through experimental techniques, Dr. Stringer had the zombie "Alice" killing the other personalities one by one until only her original personality remained. He explains that her treatments were working until "Kristen" appeared, yet another invention of Alice's mind to protect itself from reliving the trauma at the farmhouse. After this revelation, Alice's ghost appears and throws herself and "Kristen" out of the window, reawakening Alice.
Alice's parents, who she had seen earlier in Dr. Stringer's office, come to take her home because she is finally fully treated. After gathering her belongings, Alice takes one last look around her room. Upon opening her cabinet, "Kristen" suddenly comes out and attacks her, and the camera cuts to black.
- Amber Heard as Kristen, the main protagonist. A girl with no memories of her life but the strong belief that she is not crazy. She feels the constant need to escape the ward no matter the cost. She is the first in noticing the other girls are disappearing and that a vengeful ghost might be the one behind it.
- Mamie Gummer as Emily. She is tough and free-spirited but also the one who mostly acts in wild, insane manner, annoys the other patients, and calls everyone crazy, which often starts conflict among girls especially between her and Sarah. Initially, she tries to intimidate and scare Kristen, but eventually, Kristen's strength makes her admire her. She hides a guilty feeling inside her though it seems unlikely she will open to it.
- Danielle Panabaker as Sarah, a vain, beautiful redhead and the flirtatious one of the group. She flirts with a male nurse but is turned down because she is a mental patient. She often puts down the other girls through her snobbish and snooty disposition.
- Laura-Leigh as Zoey, a girl who has suffered emotional trauma so severe that she keeps acting and dressing like a little girl. She carries around a stuffed rabbit everywhere she goes. She seems oppressed by the others due to her instant trust in Kristen.
- Lyndsy Fonseca as Iris, artistically talented and prim and proper, she is the first of the girls in befriending Kristen. She is nice and kind to everyone. She also carries a sketchbook where she likes to draw. She seems to be the most aware of their situation in the ward since she explains Kristen everything about their seclusion.
- Mika Boorem as Alice, a girl who used to be a patient at the ward but is nowhere to be found anymore. Kristen tries to find out what happened to her during her time at the Ward.
- Jared Harris as Dr. Stringer, the girls' psychiatrist. He seems hopeful in curing Kristen, though his real intentions seem mysterious the whole time.
- Sydney Sweeney as Young Alice, a young girl who Kristen sees in flashbacks, both hands chained in a cellar. Nothing is really explained about her in the beginning.
- Dan Anderson as Roy, the chief orderly at the ward. Serious and unpredictable, tries to maintain order inside the ward. He is the main target of Sarah's flirting.
- Susanna Burney as Nurse Lundt, the chief nurse at the ward. Tends to consider Kristen a loose end, and constantly tries to act without the authority of Dr. Stringer.
- Sali Sayler as Tammy, a girl who disappears from the ward unexpectedly. Her disappearance upsets the other girls. Her empty room is later occupied by Kristen. She is the mastermind behind Alice's "death" at the hands of the girls.
- Mark Chamberlin as Mr. Hudson, the sad man (as Emily describes him and his wife). They constantly visit the ward and are often seen watching the girls from a window.
- Jillian Kramer as Monster Alice, the ghost responsible for the disappearances. Using surgical tools as torture means on her victims. Not much is clear about her rather than the fact that she is getting rid of the girls one by one.
The full trailer for the film was released on January 7, 2011. The Ward was released in the UK on January 21, 2011 with a 15 viewing age rating.
After its debut in a handful of film festivals in late 2010, The Ward was released in US theatres on July 8, 2011.
The Ward was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in the UK on 24 October 2011.
The Ward received mixed to negative reviews from critics. Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 32% on the Tomatometer, with a rating of 4.4/10 based on 69 reviews. Metacritic gave The Ward a 38 out of a 100, with 18 critics giving it a generally unfavorable review. Horror film review site MoreHorror.com called it "A modern effort by a seasoned veteran that may not be as effective as some of his own work, but is just as good as most the films in mainstream horror today." 
However, its rating is 5.6/10 after 26,045 ratings on IMDB, indicating that the public had a more positive opinion of it than the critics.
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- "Early Art and Images: John Carpenter's The Ward". DreadCentral.
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- Rotten Tomatoes