Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 Days of Horror: The Ward

2010, John Carpenter (if you don't know, i ain't tellin ya) -- download

It's nice to see Carpenter back to doing a horror movie considering one of the best of the genre is attributed to him.  It's also nice to see him back since the last flick he did was 2001's less-than-stellar Ghosts of Mars.  This time we have another ghost story and once again, a ghost story with a gimmick.

Its the 60s, and if you cannot tell by the washed out cinematography and long, wide shots then the police car and grannie panties should give it away. Kristen is in a night gown running through the wood when she stumbles upon a farmhouse. The cops, in said car, are looking for someone, probably her.  When we see her light the curtains of the farmhouse on fire, we are confirmed it's her.

She is taken to the typical out of the way county asylum that probably has seen better days as a luxury hotel.  She doesn't remember who she is nor what brought her to burn down that house. But the friendly psychologist, the only one seemingly on staff, tells her they will figure it out.  He also gives a sense that he knows her, but Kristen is new here, as is apparent by the newly chalked name written outside her room.  Kristen is introduced to the other girls of the lockdown ward, all young and pretty and a bit damaged.  Oh, did I mention that Kristen now occupies the room where the previous occupant was strangled by a shadowy figure?

This is the strangest asylum I have seen depicted.  The doctor seems genuinely concerned for her, the nurse is stern but non-abusive and the orderly actually doesn't seem pervy & seeking to abuse her.   Babydoll wished she had been locked up here instead of the Lennox House for the Mentally Insane.  The odder parts are the lack of other patients & staff.

Kristen is the instigator, the planner and is determined she is leaving. But when she almost immediately recognizes a ghost is killing off her room mates one by one, and the staff & doctor are not responding to said deaths, she enlists the rest of the staff to help her.  Nope, no dancing, swords or bunny battlesuits.

It was unfortunate that right around the time Kristen decide to leave was the time Marmy & I guessed what was going on.  It's a trope indeed but an enjoyable one nonetheless.  It's not always in the originality of the play but how skillfully it is done. And Carpenter does is wonderfully. You see, Kristen is Alice Hudson is Emily is Sarah is Zoey is Iris. The flashbacks of the little girl chained and abused were Alice as a child where she was horribly tortured for a few months before being found.  To save herself she fractured into all the other girls. And the friendly psychologist is attempting to draw them all together again.  The murdering ghost is the psyche of Alice trying to merge them all together again.  And she succeeds.

JUMP !!  Or so we think.