Would you believe that there was a movie that I was getting through Netflix that I was actually looking forward to? It’s John Carpenter and it’s about some sort of asylum or institution place, and I could have only assumed it was haunted. When it was playing in theaters, the closest place it was showing was about 40 minutes away, and there was no way I was driving that far for some bullshit, and was excited that this was finally out on home video. Before we go any further, I am going to warn you that I am going to spoil the end of this movie, and that it is a twist ending. The ending didn’t necessarily make the movie that much more enjoyable, but I didn’t really see it coming and thought it was interesting…kind of.
Just look at those shitty, shitty extensions. Apparently they didn’t have combs back in the 60′s.
Amber Heard plays Kristen, who is apparently a girl who likes to set houses on fire, considering that the first thing we see her doing is setting a house on fire. Because she did this, and also because they gave her horrible, disgusting extensions in this movie that looked like dreadlocks, she ends up in a mental institution. The movie takes place in 1966, so clearly the methods of treating mental “issues” were a little bit different back then. Kristen is in a ward with a few other young and attractive women with varying degrees of “issues”. Kristen gets the feeling that the doctors and other patients are hiding something because she keeps having visions of a ghost coming after her. While trying to escape the institution, Kristen also notices that other patients from her ward seem to be disappearing one by one, and the doctor she interacts with seems to be hiding something.
You leave that British guy from Mad Men alone!
After interrogating other patients, Kristen discovers that there was a girl who lived in that ward before Kristen who kept trying to escape, resulting in all of the girls being punished. The other patients decided to take matters into their own hands and killed this girl named “Alice” and it is their belief that her ghost has decided to come back and kill them, one by one. Well, they are right, because we see the ghost/zombie of Alice killing all the other girls. Eventually, Kristen is the only one left, and after successfully “killing” Alice by chopping her in the chest with an axe, which is strange because she was already a ghost, she wanders into her doctor’s office. It’s there that Kristen sees her own file, only to realize that none of the other patients were real. Apparently Alice is the real name of Kristen, and Kristen, along with all the other patients, were just different personalities that were built up as a defense mechanism. When Alice was a young girl, she was chained up and tormented for two months, causing her mental breakdown. After being institutionalized, her real personality, which was the ghost looking Alice, was destroying the multiple personalities so that eventually the only one left was Alice. After hearing this, Kristen turns around to see Alice, and the two crash out of a window, killing the final personality. Now that Alice was “cured” she was allowed to go home, but as soon as she packs her things and takes one last look in the mirror, we see Kristen come crashing out to attack, and then the credits roll.
See, now THIS is a mental institution I could get behind! Just a bunch of hotties with low standards dancing around. Consider me CRAZY.
Remember that movie Identity with John Cusack and Amanda Peet? And remember how halfway through the movie you learned that John Cusack and Amanda Peet were just personalities inside a big fat guy’s mind? This movie was clearly very similar to that movie, with one big difference. This one wasn’t shitty. The problem with Identity was that they told you halfway through the movie that none of the characters were real, so why should you care about anything that happens to anyone? The Ward was able to achieve a better result with a similar concept by making that surprising realization the conclusion as opposed to making the conclusion be about which personality survived. I was so convinced that Alice was a ghost that I got pissed when she was defeated by an axe. You can even ask Rampaige, she’ll back me up. She’ll also back me up on the shitty, disgusting extensions, which might not have annoyed me as much had Rampaige not constantly been talking about them. Man, how disgusting are extensions? Anyways, I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed this movie, despite not reinventing the wheel. I also wondered whether or not it was important to have this movie take place in 1966, but then it became clear that electrotherapy was something that was somewhat acceptable, along with all the other ways these patients were treated. Was entertaining and kept my attention, but certainly not John Carpenter’s best.
Wolfman Moon Scale