John Carpenter's The Ward
1. Antiseptic, the whole movie looks like it was scrubbed down with some terrible smelling germ killer. The frame is clean and ordered and lobotomized, and has had its nails cut to the meat, the dipped in Lysol. This is a good thing. It is the cleanest movie ever.
2. Camera Movement, the little guy just goes and goes and goes, it was a thrill, at no time does it sit there and think, we are always in the action, and with the characters.
3. Scary, they jump at you, but there are nice build ups and smashes, nothing revolutionary, we didn’t reinvent the genre here, but it is effective at making you go, “here it comes, here it comes… wait, where isAHHH! Stop being a jerk movie!”
4. Amber Heard, a lean mean mothering machine. She comes in and takes care of business. She is good here, and has a wonderful bit with an ax versus ghost. I was glad the movie went there.
5. The ghost make up was great! KNB, and the skin is what gets you, just the most disgusting rotting translucent dead wrap you’ve seen. Amazing. It looks pretty great.
6. The chick from Kick Ass is in this, Lyndsy Fonseca, and she has the best acting bit, where she has to convince everyone that she is sane and ready to go home. A great little moment in the movie.
7. Does it all work, no kids, sorry. Like in Insidious, we have a knock down drag out climatic fight scene in this, which is a well done fight scene, but seems to be thrown in out of, “oh we need something exciting to happen here”. It just doesn’t fit with the quiet trapped feeling of the rest of the movie.
8. The big reveal at the end has been done before. You go, “Cool! Just like in that other movie.” I like how it was done here, it makes more sense than it did in that other movie (and I love that other movie), because the characters here seem to jive more with the concept, but it has a "been there, seen that" feel. But if you are 17 and have only seen two movies, I’m sure it will be really cool for you.
9. The whole thing works as more of a quiet little drama. The emphasis is on the characters and the messed up situation. It is a nice situation for a horror film, one that is simple but once you find yourself getting into it, you do start asking, “Hey what would I do, they are really screwed here”. You can tell THE MASTER was more interested in working with this ensemble and making an intimate film verses trying to put his name on top of some A-list “I wanna make the next Iron Man movie”. I respect him for being who he is and not giving a shit what others may think. I’ll stop now before I devolve into fanboy idolatry.
10. SHOWSTOPPER! The death by electro shock was such an awesome fusion of CG, mood, practical make up, performance, tone, music, menace, blood, and polished amber concrete. A great horror highlight.
BONUS – The location here, a state run mental institution, is always one of my favorites, and in this flick, when it goes to night, and there are lightning storms outside, and the orange security lights are on, and all that scrubbed metal and gleaming polished concrete floor, it is a thing of horror movie beauty.