Believe it or not, it’s been ten years since horror legend John Carpenter (Halloween, The Fog, Village of the Damned, etc.) directed a film – and his last picture was the forgettable spooky sci-fi tale Ghosts of Mars. He’ll return at last this year with The Ward, a mysterious ghost story that looks to rely on old-fashioned scare tactics rather than shock gore. But does the film look like a return to form for Carpenter?
Sadly, the answer appears to be no. The Ward international trailer has its share of clichés, including an over-reliance on cheap jump scares that come off more as predictable than unnerving.
The Ward stars Amber Heard (Drive Angry) as Kristen, a traumatized young woman who is committed to a mental institution under dubious circumstances. While there, she is haunted by visions of a ghoulish specter that appears to be one of the hospital’s former patients. Although the ghostly woman may or may not be real, Kristen soon realizes that she has to escape from her mysterious prison – before she suffers a fate far worse than death.
In terms of plot, The Ward is more than a bit reminiscent of Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch on the surface – since it revolves around a blonde-haired young woman who is wrongly committed to a corrupt institution around the mid-20th century. Carpenter’s film will almost definitely be more thematically cohesive and atmospheric than Snyder’s ambitious (but lackluster) project – still, does The Ward actually look scary?
Find out by watching the international trailer for The Ward below:
Some of you may notice the overt similarities between this international Ward trailer and the theatrical preview for Insidious – what with the ticking metronome, brief flashes of creepy monsters, and traditional haunted house movie genre tropes. The problem lies not so much in the use of said clichés, but rather the execution, which is where The Ward looks to fall on the flat side. All the same, it’s hard to fault Carpenter too much for striving to deliver a horror tale more interested in building tension and suspense – rather than just another film that mistakes having lots of blood and gore for being “scary.”
Carpenter fans might still want to give The Ward a peek, if only to see character actor Jared Harris – whose eclectic resume includes a memorable stint on Fringe, a recurring role on Mad Men, and the role of Moriarty in this winter’s Sherlock Holmes 2 – in action as a sinister therapist. Plus, Heard is pretty easy on the eyes as well.
The Ward will be available on VOD on June 8th. It will be given a limited theatrical release next month on July 8th.