Monday, August 29, 2011
THE WARD (2010
Directed By: John Carpenter
Written By: Michael Ramussen & Shawn Ramussen
Cinematography By: Yaron Orbach
Editor: Patrick McMahon
Cast: Amber Heard, Jared Harris, Mika Boorem, Danielle Pannabaker, Maime Gummer, Laura-Leigh, Lyndsey Fonesca
While i was expecting the film to be bad the way it has been talked about and dumped into theaters and now DVD. it's not as bad as you have heard. it's certainly not Carpenter's worst film, Nor does it reach any of the high's of his best remembered films. The film does turn out disappointing because you can tell carpenter's heart isn't entirely in the film. He still shows skill behind the camera to make things interesting.
At first the film plays like a typical haunted house film. Then it changes to a slasher film that hides a cinspiracy in it's heart. Towards the third act though it breaks up the monontany to shake things up, so that the film soon becomes unpredictable. I like the way the film plays with conventions of the genre slowly then suddenly turns them on their ear, playing with the audience to keep nthem on their toes. unfortunately this isn't enough to make the film entirely successful. I can see why Carpenter was attracted to the material. I don't know if he reaqlly was or took it as a for hire job. there are very little of his traqdemarks on display, but you can tell the film is in the hands of a master instead of some hack. He gives the story more respect then anything else. he doesn't go for flashy cuts or camera angles. he knows how to build suspense in a scene.
Thought the film stars many attractive young ladies. Carpenter doesn't flirt with sex or sleaze when it comes to them. He doesn't make them desperate for each other or a man turning them into sex objects more then characters. like films of this type usually succumb to.
While the script isn't the greatest it is one of the better recent horror one's that at least tries something different while playing inside of the rules. The only sad part is that by watching the film you can tell Carpenter is at the end of his rope. This film is his first not shot on panavision. It's not a bad film to go out on. It's just sad to see a old master slowly go out the pasture as he doesn't have the interest or the passion to really make films anymore. This is actually the first feature he has directed in 10 years. The only other things he directed in that time was 2 episodes of the MASTERS OF HORROR series.
I believe he is just worn down. He is a old school filmmaker. He likes to make films with anti-heroes and usally a bit of social commentary. He likes to throw himself into his films usually scoring and scripting. It's just that these days it is tougher to get a film made by a studio then ever. The studios are more or less run by Business school students who are more interested in profits then artistic achievement. So it's harder for filmmakers like him to get films made by reputation. He has had to fight so much to get his films and dream projects made over the years, That now he can live off of the residuals and his reputation. He doesn't really care about remakes or sequels to his work. these days he is more interested in videogames. I learned this last tidbit last year at the 2010 new york comic con from the Writersw of the Prequel of THE THING.
It's a shame as John Carpenter's films might not always be the best, but there is something noteworthy in the films he usually makes. If not his whole career.
This film is a satisfying rental. It's a good double feature with the film IDENTITY. they both invoke the same mood. Only one is done better.