Welcome to North Bend Psychiatric Hospital, an isolation ward for female offenders with a deadly secret guaranteed to terrify beyond words. Kristen (Amber Heard) finds herself committed to The Ward after setting fire to an abandoned farmhouse. Imprisoned in this terrifying asylum alongside a group of erratically behaved young women, Kristen not only faces overbearing wardens during the day but by night a savage ghostly figure stalks The Ward hallway for her next victim to swallow into the darkness.
The Ward is cult director John Carpenter’s first film in a decade. It tells the story of a haunted psychiatric institution;North Bend. Kristen (Amber Heard) is institutionalized after she sets fire to a farmhouse. When placed on the ward Kristen is placed in the room of now dead patient Tammy.
Strange things begin to happen around Kristen and she finds herself watched by a disfigured and shadowed figure, which attacks and kills several of the other girls on the ward. Kristen discovers that the figure is the ghost of patient Alice Hudsen who was murdered by the other girls on the ward and is now haunting them to seek her revenge. One by one her peers are caught and murdered, whilst Kristen makes several attempts to escape.
The film was eagerly anticipated by Carpenter fans, and it largely lives up to its creator’s name. The film is eerie and tense and shockingly gruesome at times. However it hardly pushes the boundaries of horror and on many occasions relies heavily on the typical clichés of the genre. To be fair, what horror film does not? It is a film that deservedly bares Carpenters stamp, yet it is by far one of the strongest of his repertoire. Carpenter fans should watch this film with a healthy dose of salt, whilst other horror fans will get precisely what they expect. Perfectly adequate and enjoyable, one would simply have hoped for something with a bit more personality as Carpenters big come-back.