I love Carpenter’s early body of work. the Thing actually stands as one of my favorite horror films of all time. I love the sense of dread of Prince of Darkness and Halloween is forever etched into the pop consciousness of this country. Escape from New York gave us the template for the iconic 80s era action movie bad ass. Carpenter’s latter works fell a little flat for me, admittedly (In the Mouth of Madness an obvious exception). It was with a little trepidation that I set out to watch his return to celluloid, The Ward. I’ll start out by saying that The Ward is a good film. Its actually a really good film. Carpenter plays this one straight and lays heavy on the suspense. The overall ideas and themes in The Ward are probably some of the smallest and most focused that Carpenter has attempted since Halloween and it shows. We spend time with our characters in The Ward and we begin to adopt a little of their paranoia, panic and claustrophobia. it doesn’t hurt that Carpenter has still kept his casting edge and Amber Heard, Danielle Panabaker and others provide a great sounding board for his decisions. The Ward benefits more by saying less. It is this subtlety that compliments the picture’s every frame and ultimately results in a unexpected and surprisingly satisfying conclusion. It boasts some of Carpenter’s most mature filmmaking to date and reminds us why he is as iconic a genre filmmaker today as he once was when he first made a name for himself. Highly recommended. The Ward is available in the US in selected cities July 8th and on Bluray and DVD this August.
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