Monday, February 11, 2013

The Ward

John Carpenter is still alive! Or is he? Welcome to The Ward. Be sure to pack your Scorecard.

  • Being John Carpenter's first movie in nearly ten years. = +13pts.
  • Setting the film in a 1960s insane asylum. = +14pts
  • Realizing that setting is not as scary or interesting as it sounds. = -6pts
  • Strangulation within the first five minutes!  = +9pts
  • Having a creepy opening title sequence chock full of ghastly asylum photos.  = +6pts.
  • Realizing in hindsight that the title sequence is scarier than anything that happens in the rest of the movie. -3pts.
  • Police assuming that the scantily-clad girl staring blankly at a burning home is an arsonist rather than a traumatized survivor. = -12pts.
  • North Bend, Oregon doesn't have an Olive Garden, let alone an insane asylum. = -5pts
  • Shots of Pacific Northwestern beauty to justify the second unit director’s paycheck. = +11pts
  • Setting the film in Oregon but actually filming in Washington instead of just saying that it was in Washington to begin with. = -4pts
  • Hey, the doctor is Winona Ryder's charmingly jerky boss from Mr. Deeds! = +12pts
  • Making every character hideously obnoxious so that you don't feel bad when they all inevitably die. = -27pts
  • Nurse Lundt. = +1pt
  • Realizing that Iris is Ted's daughter from How I Met Your Mother. = +8pts
  • Trying to escape scant seconds after being detained for the night. +7pts
  • Being surprised when the trained orderly is there to catch you. -5 pts (This isn’t Canada!)
  • Flashback scenes with heavily implied child molestation. = -12pts
  • Being able to figure out the plot twist before the film's halfway point. Nice job, "sad people." = -18pts
  • Wait, where did all of the other crazy people go? = -11pts
  • Showcasing 60’s fashion with high-waisted skinny jeans. = -5pts (It wasn’t as sexy as one would think).
  • Why is everyone suddenly dancing? = -7pts
  • The obligatory shower scene interrupted by a ghost! = +10pts
  • Not being able to tell if the ghost is a ghost or a zombie (A ghost zombie? A zombie ghost?). = -6pts
  • Ghost zombie's exposed and squirming veins. = +2pts
  • Death by lobotomy! = +15pts
  • No one commenting on Emily's inexplicable Joker smile. = +18pts
  • The orderly being too busy screwing a grate onto a vent to screw a mental patient. = +14pts (Did you see what we did there?)
  • Gimme gimme shock treatment! = +6pts
  • Stuffing paper towels in the cell door to make it seem locked from the outside so that you can fail to escape again. = -3pts (When you’re trying to sleep tonight, remember that John Carpenter directed this scene.)
  • A jump scare that actually worked only because there was no logical place for the ghost zombie's arm to appear from. = 0pts
  • Showing the dangers of feigning a suicide attempt for attention. = +9pts
  • MacGyvering out of a straightjacket by using a bedspring. = +2pts
  • Making us feel bad for the orderly getting knocked out when he's just trying to read his book. = -3pts
  • With the orderly angrily giving chase, Zoey’s casual one-liner (“He’s mad.”) was amusingly apt. = +13pts
  • Successfully killing the ghost zombie with a fire axe. = +18pts
  • The ghost zombie's flopping, shrieking, unintentionally hilarious demise which really hams up the climax. = -4pts
  • A plot twist that makes us wish that the movie could have pulled it off better. = -19pts
  • Kirsten not being a ghost zombie in the ending scene. = -15 pts (Normal people attacking you through a mirror isn’t scary.)
  • Hearing John Carpenter drop a deuce on his filmmaking legacy. = -18pts

Total  = +5 points

The Ward had delusions of grandeur but ultimately came off like Identity with cookie-cutter characters and a ghost zombie. It’s not awful, but having John Carpenter's name plastered all over it set our expectations higher than the film could reach. Spending nearly two hours in a real sanitarium would be scarier and more interesting than this snoozy slasher. One should never  venture into The Ward without a Scorecard. Ever.

Score Technician: TJ Geise

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