Monday, February 20, 2012
Movie Review: The Ward (2010)
Year Produced: 2010
Director: John Carpenter
Genre: Psychological Horror
Amber Heard - Kristen
Lyndsy Fonseca - Iris
Danielle Panabaker - Sarah
Mamie Gummer - Emily
Laura Leigh - Zoey
Jared Harris - Dr. Stringer
Mika Boorem - Alice
Sydney Sweeney - Young Alice
The movie starts with a slow and dark ride into the year 1966 in the North Bend Psychiatrist, where a young girl named Tammy was admitted and was seen trying to settle down in her own room, or rather, cell at night. She was suddenly attacked by an unseen force on her bed and killed, leaving her bracelet.
In the next scene, we see a young girl setting fire to a farmhouse and running away from the police. However, she was caught and was seen to be sent by the police to a psychiatric hospital where we learn that her name is Kristen (Amber Heard) and that she was unable to recall anything else.
The guards led her to her room, which used to be Tammy's old room and she found the bracelet.
She then met other girls who were in the same ward as her; Iris (Lyndsy Fonseca), Sarah (Danielle Panabaker), Emily (Mamie Gummer), and Zoey (Laura Leigh) who seemed to all come from an assortment of characters.
Kristen was shortly summoned to see her therapist, Dr Stringer (Jared Harris) who tried to get her to talk about her past but Kristen was unable to recall anything at all besides the fire which she did not even know why she started it.
Kristen was getting to know the other girls in the ward, and realized that they all seemed rather normal beneath their appearances but they all warned her about escaping. Kristen tried to convince them to escape but they were too afraid to do so and Kristen decided to do it on her own and attempted her escape that very night, but her efforts were proved futile due to the tight security in the hospital.
She was thrown back into her cell and warned by the guards never to attempt escaping again.
She fell asleep and was awakened by a scary and horrifying disfigured person sitting on the bed and staring at her.
The next day, she was surprised to see two people looking at her from Dr. Stringer's office but was unable to get much information from the girls on their identities. Kristen was trying to find out about the disfigured person which the girls believe may be Tammy, and told Kristen about her cell being Tammy's old room.
Kristen was haunted by the images of the figure on her bed the night before, but tried to brush it off until she was attacked in the shower by that disfigured figure. She told the nurse about the incident, but instead was being drugged and put to intensive therapy.
Kristen continued trying to figure out to escape from the hospital, while persuading the other girls to join her but they failed miserably.
Iris was priding in her own recovery and was certain that she was about to be discharged following her session with Dr. Stringer, however, it seemed that Iris was killed by the disfigured figure after that session and the girls were grieved by Iris's death. Kristen then found the sketch pad used by Iris and found a collection of amazing sketches done by the girl. She was surprised to see the name Alice Hudson on the pad and was even more surprised to see the other girls appearing horrified when she asked them about Alice Hudson, although it was revealed that Alice used to be a patient at the hospital like them as well.
Iris's death made Kristen attempt her escape once again, and she was joined by Emily but the alarm went off and the girls failed once again.
Sarah was also seen to be killed by a figure who attacked her when she was on her way to her appointment with Dr. Stringer and that instilled more fear among the girls, and Kristen tried to get them to reveal the truth about Alice Hudson before they are all killed for no reason.
Zoey decided to kill herself as she believe there is no escape from Alice, while Zoey tells Kristen about the fact that they were all involved in Alice Hudson's death and that they have killed her together. Zoey believed that Alice was probably coming back for revenge and to kill all of them to pay them back for what they had done.
Upon hearing this, Kristen made her last attempt to escape, along with Zoey and she held Zoey hostage. However, Zoey appeared to be killed by the figure as well while Kristen managed to kill the figure while stumbling upon a file detailing all the girls' names and her own, including Alice Hudson.
Bewildered at the discovery of the file, Kristen was then seen to be led into the room by Dr. Stringer and he started telling her about the truth.
Kristen's real name was actually Alice Hudson, and that the little girl she had been seeing in her visions, was actually her younger self. The flashbacks of this little girl being tied in a dark basement and abused by an unknown man, was in fact, Alice, or Kristen herself, who was kidnapped as a little girl at the age of 8 from her home and she was chained in the basement of a farmhouse for two months. It was the same farmhouse Kristen was seen setting fire to at the beginning of the movie.
Dr. Stringer then told her that she created multiple personalities for herself to escape her tormented past; and thus the identities of Tammy, Iris, Sarah, Emily and Zoey. Dr. Stringer had been working with various therapy techniques to heal her and she seemed to have recovered, or so he thought until 'Kristen' appeared, a character which was much stronger and overwhelmed the rest of her personalities. It was during this revelation that Alice suddenly appeared and she threw herself out of the window, leading to Alice coming to terms with herself.
In the final scene, we see Alice packing up her stuffs to leave the hospital and she was being escorted by her parents, the two people who she saw looking at her from Dr. Stringer's office in the earlier scene. As Alice was looking at herself in the mirror, a figure, 'Kristen' suddenly appears and attacked her and that was the end.
I think there has been a lot of movies lately, or maybe it was me as I had been watching a few movies with the same plot, and all about multiple personalities disorder and it tends to get a little cliched after a while.
The Ward was a rather feeble attempt at this genre, and it tends to lack in a sound or original plot to grip that attention of the audience. It was interesting at first, although it tends to be confusing and then, it slowly becomes quite obvious where the story is getting at.
I think it lacked substance, and there were just too many cheap scares to give the story that scary edge, but it was not really that successful.
I find it okay to watch, not something that painful that I couldn't bear with it, although there were certain scenes I felt like fast forwarding as well.