John Carpenter’s final feature film (to date) is so generic, forgettable & lacking in atmosphere that it’s difficult to believe that The Ward is from the same genius mind that gave us horror classics such as Halloween, The Fog, The Thing, Prince of Darkness & In the Mouth of Madness.
With much of the plot taking place in a psychiatric hospital, the story concerns a young woman who is institutionalized thereafter she sets an abandoned farmhouse on fire. While at the facility, she finds herself being terrorized by a ghost and learns that the other inmates are also aware of it.
Directed by John Carpenter, there isn’t much wrong with the first act of this film but things do start heading downstream after that and the final twist is simply a facepalm-inducing moment that undoes much of what unfolded before and even destroys the few good things about it.
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What’s truly disappointing about The Ward is the fact that it is from the filmmaking legend who actually understands this genre better than anyone else in the industry, which makes the experience all the more infuriating & heartbreaking. It doesn’t even feel like a Carpenter film for the most part, for the suspense & dramatic tension is nowhere to be found here.
Relying on jump scares, a couple of which are admittedly well-timed, filled with characters who are mere caricatures, failing to create a foreboding aura despite the apt setting, and concluding with an ending that ruins everything, there is barely anything in this film that we haven’t seen before and with Carpenter at helm, much more was expected.
On an overall scale, The Ward isn’t something one would expect from the legend who we refer to as The Horror Master. If this is indeed the final film of his legendary career, then it’s a shame that he went out with a meh rather than on a high. I still believe Carpenter has one last masterpiece left in him. And I hope he makes it before calling it quits. Because The Ward is not the way to go. It simply isn’t Carpenteresque enough. Just skip it.