The WardWarner Bros. Pictures

“If I were you I’d watch out, new girl.”

It’s been ten years since John Carpenter made a movie.  Considering the movie he made then was the underwhelming Ghosts Of Mars, and that most of the 1990s were…less than stellar, really it’s not all that shocking that this legendary film maker took on a bit of a rest.  Go into semi-retirement if not full on retirement.  There were those episodes of the Masters Of Horror series, but I would have understood if he decided he had a good run, and let his classics endure.  But, ten years after essentially making Assault On Precinct 13 In Space with a former Gangsta rapper with “Ice” in his name (the other one, silly), he comes back and releases this small indie psychological thriller.  I’m not complaining.

We come into The Ward in the 1960s, and a teenage girl is burning down a house.  Interesting way of starting things off.  She’s systematically taken to a psychiatric ward that is populated with a small handful of other girls, each holding on to a dark secret.  While going through psychiatric therapies, the mystery surrounding the ward deepens as a ghostly apparition of a former patient appears, and the residents begin disappearing in violent ways.  Can any of the girls survive and put a stop to this ghost?  Or will there be a convoluted plot twist that most viewers will guess halfway through the movie?

Oh, quit your complaining. Regardless whether or not I just “spoiled” things for you, The Ward is still a nice, stylish and atmospheric piece that works as a period piece, ghost story, psychological thrill and mystery. As a John Carpenter movie, The Ward ranks up there with In The Mouth Of Madness and the Masters Of Horror episode “Cigarette Burns” as good modern pieces.  I wouldn’t say “instant classic”, as there are other movies of this type that have done this better.  However, when compared to its contemporary, namely Sucker Punch, The Ward is clearly the superior offering.  Subtle in its delivery, great atmospherics, good photography and music score, great acting and such.  About the only real complaint I have is the very last shot of the movie.  Saw that one coming too.

While I hasten to say, “return to form for Mr. Carpenter!”, The Ward proves he still has some bloody good yarns to spin.  Recommended watching.