VOD of the week – “The Ward” by John Carpenter

Alongside successful veterans like Scorsese and Spielberg, some of their colleagues and friends were less fortunate. The Italian giallo maestro, Dario Argento, is respected and celebrated, but his latest films are totally ignored (including the latest, “Occhiali Neri”). Ditto for his Italian-American contemporary, Brian De Palma, virtuoso of the harrowing thriller. As for John Carpenter, a great fantasy filmmaker of the 1970s and 80s, he had to stop directing to devote himself to music. His last film, released directly on DVD, “The Ward” (2010), had completely escaped us. We can make up for this shortcoming thanks to VOD. Surprise: the film is quite honorable. It takes place in a psychiatric hospital, where a young arsonist says she was wrongfully interned. The work, classically crafted, neat, works perfectly, without being stunning. The heroine is housed in a wing of the establishment reserved for young girls, who disappear one by one. Who is guilty ? A staff member or the sadistic ghost that lurks the hallways? Still, it ends with a twist very close to that of “Shutter Island” by Scorsese, shot the same year as “The Ward”, and also taking place in an HP. Who copied? Mystery. In any case, one wonders if one does not gain by the exchange; the little thriller by his colleague Carpenter certainly does not move mountains, but it is well packaged. Isn’t it preferable to the Scorsese gasworks, weighed down by its flashbacks on the Holocaust and its Gothic decorum? Of course, we would have liked the creator of Halloween (Carpenter) and so many other horror peaks to think a little more off the beaten path, but it is tragic that no one trusted him after this modest film. . It must be said that he had another handicap: the interpreter of the main role, Amber Heard, correct actress, but too colorless and odorless to convince. She has since confirmed his lack of charisma, that he forced her to play the role of his life in court, during the resounding lawsuit brought against her ex-husband, Johnny Depp. In short, « The Ward », a cursed film, proves how ungrateful Hollywood was by discarding at 62 a filmmaker in total possession of his means, for the benefit of infamous makers of indigestible blockbusters (like Joss Whedon) or kitsch mega-bleuettes (who said “Avatar”?).


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