... more like an observation, or perhaps a musing.
So, I'm home sick from work the other day, and while trolling the endless movie channels looking for something interesting to watch (all these channels and it's always the same movies on, what's up with that?), I see John Carpenter's The Ward in the listings. Now Carpenter is one of my favorite horror directors. I have my essential John Carpenter collection in my dvd's -- his remake of The Thing, Big Trouble in Little China (not exactly horror, but a great flick), the very underrated In the Mouth of Madness and my all-time favorite Prince of Darkness. So I'm thinking I've found a new gem here and settle in to watch.
First thing I notice about this 2010 release is that Carpenter didn't write this movie as he usually does. Also, he didn't do the music, which again, he usually does. He's only the director. No biggie, I figure.
So the movie is set in the mid-sixties, a girl, played by Amber Heard, burns down a house and is sent to a local asylum because . . . it's a movie, yo.
Now I kind of like Heard, she's attractive and seems a pretty decent actress. I first saw her in the execrable Drive Angry and thought there was something there. I've read she wants to do the superhero/kick-ass kind of parts and seems to have the vibe for it. But anyway . . .
Once in the nut house, the other girls in her lock down wing get killed off one by one, in generic gruesomeness, by the fairly typical mishappened/scarred spooky girl. The hospital's staff refuses to believe Kristen (Heard's character) about the killings, multiple failed escapes ensue, the usual stuff.
Finally get to the pay off for the flick, and I'm thinking Hold the phone! I've seen this before! Not this exact movie, of course. But:
Yep. Back in 2003, this underrated movie starring John Cusack and Ray Liotta came out. And "The Ward" is the same movie. Almost exactly. Missing only one concurrent running back story from "Identity." So what's up here? Surely, If I'm aware of what's going on here, someone as tuned into the genre as Carpenter must have realized the stunning similarities in this new project to a movie that came out only seven years earlier.
Is Carpenter that desperate for work? Run out of original ideas maybe? I don't know. Often times remakes are done because writers or directors think they have a new or better take on a theme. That certainly wasn't the case here, Identity is a much better movie in every aspect. It won't put me off Carpenter as a director/creator, but it sure was a bummer to get that let down at the end of the movie.
Did you find this discussion helpful? Check out my other not exactly a movie reviews for my thoughts on the flicks and the occasional gallery of hotness that accompanies them:
I usually try to put a gallery of related hotness with my movie reviews. And though this isn't exactly a review, I've got some images of Amber Heard lying around, so there ya go: