Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Ward (2011)

Angry and confused, Kristen (Amber Heard) decides to burn down an old farmhouse. She’s on the run from the police, but they eventually catch up with her, and Kristen is sent to an insane asylum for women. Kristen has a rough time as she tries to fit in with the other girls. Iris (Lyndsy Fonseca) tries to help, Emily (Mamie Gummer) is the oddball of the group, Zoey (Laura Leigh) is quiet and nervous, and Sarah (Danielle Panabaker) is the nasty bitch in the group. Kristen isn’t too popular at first, but she slowly begins to gain some allies. But being the new girl in asylum isn’t her biggest problem. Kristen is being stalked by a ghost, who wants to cause her some harm. The ghost becomes more relentless and viscous as the story progresses. The staff and Dr. Stringer (Jared Harris) don’t believe Kristen, but the other female patients at the asylum begin to disappear one by one. Kristen begins to realize the serious nature of the situation, and she doesn’t want to be the next victim, so she tries to escape the asylum.

Alice Hudson (Mika Boorem) is the name of the viscous and evil ghost, who stalks all of the female patients at the asylum. Alice was a former patient at the asylum, and she wasn’t a nice person. She tormented the other girls at the asylum, and the other female patients eventually grew tired of her constant bullying, so they decided to formulate a plan. They killed Alice, but her evil spirit has returned, and she wants revenge in the worst way.
**End spoilers**

The Ward actually has some promise at first. The story feels mysterious and chilling, but this film really didn’t deliver with the scares. There are a few spook moments here and there, but overall, this film isn’t scary. The Ward can feel VERY boring most of the time, and the tension wasn’t there. Also, the big surprise at the end was a huge letdown.

What happened to Kristen? Why did she burn down the farmhouse at the beginning of the film? This film does offer some intriguing mysteries, and they do build some suspense towards the end, but the big shock didn’t do anything for me.
We’re in the final moments of the film, and Kristen has finally snapped. She takes another shot at escaping from the asylum. Kristen doesn't want to take any chances, and she wants to save Zoey. Without any intentions of harming Zoey, Kristen takes Zoey hostage, while holding a blade to her throat, and Kristen almost makes it, but her second attempt is unsuccessful. Kristen goes to the doctor for some answers, and he tells her the devastating secret: Kristen isn’t a real person. Kristen was Alice all along, and Kristen was one of the many different people Alice created in her mind. That’s right. The other female patients in the asylum (including Heard’s character) weren’t real. They were characters Alice created, and they represented the different parts of her personality. That’s right. Alice is the woman, who originally escaped from the asylum, and she is the person who burned the farmhouse at the beginning of the film.

As far as the farmhouse stuff goes, Alice was abducted as a child. Her kidnapper held her captive inside the farmhouse. The farmhouse was a source for some very painful memories for Alice, so she decided to burn it down. The farmhouse was a symbol of trauma, so Alice wanted to erase it from her memory, but this didn’t work. Alice created a fantasy world, where other women were actually alive, but this fantasy world became too realistic, and Alice lost her grip on the real world. The other women became strong personalities, and they eventually dominated Alice.

Wait… the ghost didn’t exist??? She wasn’t real! Alice is Kristen. That’s the big secret? REALLY??? So a woman who lives in the insane asylum is crazy. Wow. What a shocking secret. Someone who actually lives in an insane asylum has mental problems.

I couldn’t believe this big twist, and I thought this was one big joke, but unfortunately, I was wrong. They spent so much time trying to convince the audience the ghost was real, and I wanted to believe in the conspiracy at the asylum. The staff’s actions are suspicious throughout the entire film, and at times, I believed they could be responsible for the disappearances. This film tries to shock you with the big secret at the end, but the big twist didn’t provide the rewarding payoff I was looking for.
**End spoilers**

I’ll give Amber Heard some credit for the acting. She did deliver a very solid performance in this film, but she couldn’t save this one. The Ward had so much potential, but in the end, this film is a HUGE disappointment. This film can be very dull most of the time, and everything falls apart towards the very end of this film, because the big twist didn’t deliver, and the attempted shock was a big disappointment.

Final Rating: 2/10

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