Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Ward (2011)

Number Rolled: 66
Movie Name/Year: The Ward (2011)
Tagline: Only sanity can keep you alive.
Genre: Horror
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: R
Production Companies: FilmNation Entertainment, Premiere Picture, Echo Lake Entertainment, A Bigger Boat, North by Northwest Entertainment
Producer: Adam Betteridge, Peter Block, Rich Cowan, Mischa Jakupcak, Doug Mankoff, Mike Marcus, Hans Ritter, David Rogers, Andrew Spaulding
Director: John Carpenter
Writer: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen
Actors: Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker, Laura-Leigh, Lyndsy Fonseca, Mika Boorem, Jared Harris, Sali Sayler, Susanna Burney, D.R. Anderson, Sean Cook, Mark Chamberlin, Andrea Petty, Sydney Sweeney

Blurb from Netflix: In this chilling thriller from director John Carpenter, a young woman is sent to a mental institution with a past as dark and haunted as her own.

Selina’s Point of View:
I enjoyed The Ward. It was a basic recipe for this kind of film, but it still held my attention and a few of the jump scares even managed to catch me.

John Carpenter (Christine, The Fog, The Thing) is a master of the horror genre, so it was easy to expect something good from this film. I was pleasantly surprised by the cast, as well.

Although it’s easy to admit that there was a lot of talent among the cast, some I’d never seen in a horror situation and the others I was simply impressed by the way they threw themselves into the roll. Amber Heard (Magic Mike XXL, Machete Kills, Zombieland) was a fantastic leading lady and her physical acting was really good. There were a few scenes that I didn’t quite believe, but the rest were outstanding.

Mamie Gummer (Manhattan, The Good Wife, The End of the Tour) did insane pretty well and Laura-Leigh (We’re the Millers, The Client List, Lost Angeles) was very good at tugging the heart strings. I was really pleased to see Danielle Panabaker (This Isn’t Funny, Time Lapse, Justified) and Lyndsy Fonseca (How I Met Your Mother, Agent Carter, Kick-Ass 2), however. I’m a huge fan of The Flash (2014-)and Nikita (2010-2013) and it was great to not only see the familiar faces but to enjoy their performances.

I believe there were some minor issues with some characterizations, but I can’t really go into it without spoilers.

I would recommend this film to fans of the genre.

Cat’s Point of View:
As I started watching The Ward, I realized that I’d seen it before. Somehow the poster and the blurb on Netflix hadn’t brought it to mind. I’m pretty sure I’d caught it circulating around one of the cable movie networks at some point.

Normally, I would say that it bodes ill for a film that I’d forgotten watching it – but not so with this movie. I remember liking it the first time around. Thankfully, I hadn’t remembered everything about it; so I hadn’t spoiled myself on the ending. Bonus!

John Carpenter’s (In the Mouth of Madness, Escape From L.A., Ghosts of Mars) name attached to a project evokes a certain level of expectation. This is the man that has brought us some of the classics of horror fare.

I’m not sure that this movie quite reached that expectation. It got close, though, and was still quite enjoyable.

There were plenty of jump scares; however, I can’t say that there was anything particularly unique regarding the asylum. It had some fairly standard recipe elements. It did offer something unexpected in the back half of the movie.

Let’s talk cast.

The award for the looniest loon in the loony bin goes to Mamie Gummer (Stop-Loss, Cake, Ricki and the Flash) for her portrayal of Emily. Her character had lighthearted whimsy with an edge of darkness.

Danielle Panabaker (Sky High, The Crazies, The Flash) was a fresh familiar face for me. I’m enjoying her work in her current television projects, and look forward to seeing her on the big screen more often. She has this bubbly smile that just exudes approachability and warmth – yet she skillfully shed that in favor of the ‘mean girl’ attitude in this film.

I’ve been impressed with Amber Heard (Never Back Down, Drive Angry, 3 Days to Kill), as well. I think she was a brilliant casting for the strong willed Kristen.

Last, but certainly not least, I bring you to Jared Harris (From Within, The Quiet Ones, Poltergeist). I’ve always found him rather interesting. I’m not sure that this movie was his best performance, though. I don’t know – it might have just been the character itself and the script. I’ve been enjoying him immensely on the current SYFY original show The Expanse (2015-).

This movie is fairly tame as far as horror movies go, but I think it’s worth a watch.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 33%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 27%

Netflix’s Prediction for Selina – 4/5
Selina’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

Netflix’s Prediction for Cat – 4.5/5
Cat’s Trust-the-Dice Score3.5/5

Movie Trailer:

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