John Carpenter's The Ward (15)

Starring: Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer

Reviewed,Anthony Quinn
Friday 21 January 2011 01:00

There is a "thing" at large in John Carpenter's creepy asylum horror, but alas it's not The Thing. The year is 1966, and a disturbed arsonist, Kristen (Amber Heard), has been confined to a psychiatric ward under the supervision of Dr Jared Harris.

She shares a ward with several other young women who all seem to be haunted by the ghost of a dead inmate. Dr Harris's electrotherapy treatments don't help – as someone says, it will "fry the crazy right outta them" – and our suspicions gather as the narrative takes one blind turn after another. Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and Scorsese's Shutter Island are its main reference points, though it approaches neither in terms of suspense, subtlety or invention. Call it Shlock Corridor – or Shitter Island.

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