Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Ward: A Film Review & Our Pissed Off Opinion

This review/opinion piece is going to be full of a whole lot of spoilers, but it turns out if you looked up the movie on Wikipedia (which we didn’t do until AFTER the film…that’s not likely to happen again when it comes to these mind fuck mental illness related films) you’d pretty much get the whole story line, which is actually as much, if not more, interesting than the entire movie, to a point.

So, The Ward, a film directed by John Carpenter and released in September 2010 at the Toronto Film Festival, “centered on an institutionalized young woman who becomes terrorized by a ghost” in 1966.…that’s all Internet Movie Database will tell you anyway. (unless you’re not smart enough to scroll down to a better synopsis and read the god damn plot keywords…like US). We though, John Carpenter, he makes great movies, and he hasn’t made one for awhile, lets download that!

The storyline is vague to start, the girl burns down a farm house and gets immediately put in a hospital mental ward (“Why are they putting her in a hospital and not taking her to jail” we asked James) the acting was mediocre and the character development was lacking. The whole time we were sitting here telling James “It would help if they’d fucking tell us why each of those girls is in the ward, maybe we’d care about the characters”. It’s called character development, and without the development of a character their death won’t have as much of an impact. You don’t get emotionally invested.

Anyway. We initially regarded the movie as crappy, though it has a couple scenes that made us jump, and one scene that made us laugh because James was so tense from the fear-anticipation of an ice pick type tool being jammed in a girls eye. (He's a little point object squeamish sometimes)

Meanwhile, we’re thinking “someone took Girl, Interrupted” and turned it into a horror film…

So the whole time this ghost is pegging off these girls in the mental ward, there are about 5 them, and two that have “gone missing” mysteriously. It’s all well and boring, we’re pretty sure we even tweeted once about the films character development *yawn*. Turns out the ghost is a girl that used to be mean to the other girls in the ward, so they conspired to kill her and succeeded and now she’s back for vengeance.

Then it’s down to the last two girls running for their life trying to escape the ward because each girl who had said she was getting out soon suddenly “disappeared” (and you get to see just how in graphic detail).

Last scene in the ward the main character, the last surviving girl, slams a fire hatchet into the chest of the ghost at which time we turn to James and say, “Bet she didn’t actually die, that girl (referring to the ghost). It is the 60’s anything is possible. Bet she got put in the morgue and wasn’t dead and snuck out and lived in the basement”.


The main character breaks into the doctor’s office and finds the file of the “ghost” girl (Emily), just as she closes the file you see a list, with descriptions saying ‘Personality 1” “Personality 2” etc. and our breath caught…and of course then she is discovered in the office by the therapist who reveals that the she has been in the hospital for some time, and that all the other girls were personalities she had created after a horrible traumatic event nearly 8 (10?) years ago…she suffers from multiple personality disorder.

He then tells the main character that he had been systematically curing her by eliminating her (The Cores) personalities, and was almost successful until her alters conspired to destroy her, "killed" her and then SHE, this character, this new stronger alter, emerged… (for us, those with DID/MPD that person ("Emily") is known as the The Core, the original personality - and the personality that takes control of the body is an Executive Alter).

At this point we screamed “Fuck off!” and turned the movie off for about 5 minutes. (more to follow about why we reacted so strongly)

…and back to the movie now it was her turn (this new alter who fronted as Executive, who did not know she was part of them) to be destroyed so that this Emily person (the “ghost”/The Core), the one that they all were, could be healed. Of course they do it, they destroy the main character and Emily is cured (but with years of therapy ahead of her) and gets to go home.

Cut to final scene when she open the medicine cabinet and of course the main character – the strong alter – leaps out…typical Hollywood bullshit going for the last predictable jump in your seat reaction.


Did that make sense to you? It's probably more interesting written this way, the acting is pretty bad. Rent it, most people would probably enjoy it. We didn't.

So what’s the problem?

Fucking Hollywood/movie makers, how about writing a film about mental disorders where the protagonist isn’t fucking insane, how about the protagonist does something good? How about a Romantic Comedy Thriller? For fucks sake, does it always have to be dark and disturbing and fucking twisted and violent? “You’re overreacting” you say…not so…this past year there has been huge campaigns all over the world trying to stamp out mental health stigma that has been seeded by media, and that includes movies…( This wasn't the first movie we watched recently that had us pissed off (see: Shutter Island...)

To some it may seem insignificant…to others, health professional and sufferers of mental illness it’s enough to dedicate a whole month for the cause. (Our Mental Health Awareness post:

Yes, it’s a movie, however, it’s a movie about an experience we have had (not in the same way, but we can identify) one of our fellow DID/MPD sufferers sent James a DM recently and told him to be careful because he had never heard of alters successfully destroying The Core before (which is what we did, what we have written about it/her [The Other Girl] multiple times, and also have not finished writing about it yet)…so for us, it’s more than a movie – it’s a legitimate fear.

Now James and us/I are sitting on the floor, after the movie was over, and he’s worried because the alter we call “Brooke” is under suspicion, he asks “How do you know Brooke is not [The Other Girl]?”…and of course we don’t, but we’re scared.

In our life there are a lot of “what ifs”… “what if Bethany decides to front during work hours”, “What if there is tons more memories that we are blocking/repressing””What if one of us decides to try to destroy another.” And the list goes on… We’re scared. James is concerned that The Other Girl will come back and that “Brooke” is her. But “Brooke” tells us to injure ourselves, like put our hand in the deep fryer or in sharp blades…hurt, hurt, like permanent damage hurt. Our rational for the whole thing is if it is The Other Girl then she wouldn’t want us to scar “her” body, if she as trying to get it back.

…and if you are new here this all sounds like insane rambling. Sure. But. Well, we were a little frantic. So we did what we could and sent James for wine while we wrote, because writing saves us. (<-this is one of our other sites, it’s where we do our mapping, but it’s also full of terms, symptoms and information on DID/MPD)


Want to read another (less pissed off) film review we wrote?
'Hell Rider: A Film Review '

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