In 1966, in North Bend, Oregon, the runaway Kristen is captured by the police after burning down a farmhouse and is locked in the North Bend Psychiatric Hospital. Kristen is introduced to Dr. Gerald Stringer, who uses experimental therapy. Then she meets the inmates Emily, Sarah, Zoey and Iris and the tough nurse Lundt. During the night and in the shower later, Kristen sees the ghost of a woman and she learns that she is Alice Leigh Hudson, a mysterious wicked intern that has disappeared. When Iris is ready to go home, she is attacked by the ghost of Alice in the basement and murdered. She vanishes and the inmates decide to seek Iris out. Then Sarah is abducted by the Alice and also killed; the next one is Emily. Meanwhile Kristen escapes from her room and meets Zoey, expecting to protect her. However, Zoey is kidnapped by Alice and Kristen runs to Dr. Stringer's office. She snoops his desk and finds a report with the truth about Alice. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
There has been a lot of "mental health" stuff in the cinema recently, and in almost all cases the storyline has played a trick on the audience in the manner of the brilliant "Sixth Sense". There is history in this too with the Three Faces of Eve standing out as the way to entertain, enlighten and educate film goers.
Although "The Ward" is reasonably well done it just isn't disturbing enough at the personality level to convince. Perhaps that is down to the acting but I would question a screenplay which is more about shocks than about insight. Yes there are signposts along the way just as there were in the Sixth Sense, but they are not as carefully constructed nor as lovingly lingered with as they could and should have been. It seemed to me director Carpenter wasn't too convinced of the robustness of the story told in a different, more true to life, way and instead took the route most likely to shock people with it's "twisted" end.
Most of all I felt this film lacked claustrophobia, the shackles and chains that surround mentally disturbed people both in their minds and in the places where they are secured.
There was a lot of wasted talent here and that is a great shame.
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