John Carpenter’s The Ward (review)

Crazy hot girl is hot, I guess. Is there something perceived to be sexy about mental illness? Cuz there would appear to be no purpose to John Carpenter’s The Ward unless it’s intended to get lonely horny guys off on the idea of the tediously banal Amber Heard — who is apparently Officially Hot — locked in a depressing mental institution and subject to electroshock therapy rocking her bod. The year is 1966, and someone is killing the coeds in the crazy ward! It’s probably not Nurse Ratched (Susanna Burney), and probably not Dr. Jared Harris, who’s the same sort of indefinably creepy guy he is on Mad Men as resident English dude Lane Pryce, and may be putting poor Heard (Zombieland) through some sort of experimental treatment. So who’s left to be stalking the suspiciously gorgeous girls of the suspiciously incoherent hospital? If you don’t guess what’s going on, you’ve never seen any of the 187,984 other stories that have taken the same “surprising” route. The Ward runs in circles for an hour and a half, being not at all scary and not at all suspenseful, until the not-at-all shocking revelation about what the experimental treatment is comprised of. Screenwriters Michael and Shawn Rasmussen believe that they have accounted for the lack of logic and consistency in their script, but they haven’t… and even more unforgivable, the flick is also devoid of the sort of inadvertent laughs that can sometimes make stupid, inept horror flicks minimally tolerable. This is downright incompetent nonsense from an alleged master of suspense such as John Carpenter, who hasn’t made a film since 2001’s ridiculous Ghosts of Mars. Perhaps he should have stayed retired.

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