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The Ward (2011)



Average Rating: 3.9/10
Critic Reviews: 17
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 14

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.7/5
User Ratings: 12,083

My Rating

Movie Info

A thriller centered on an institutionalized young woman (Amber Heard) who becomes terrorized by a ghost. -- (C) Arc Entertainment


Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen

Aug 16, 2011

Arc Entertainment - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (71) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (47) | DVD (4)

An aggressively plain spook story that favors jump moments over sustained tension and winds up falling back on a particularly tired twist.

July 11, 2011 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Carpenter has made his approximation of a cheap, twisty, shock-filled modern horror movie, and he has lost all but faint sighs of his minimalist swagger in the process.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: NPR
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The horror master's first film in nine years is not the comeback we had wished.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The shocks mostly consist of figures suddenly rising up in the background, or thunderclaps from a seemingly endless thunderstorm.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Carpenter's economical but mundane chiller is possessed more by previous ghoul-friend flicks than it is by his better work.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A dull, by-the-numbers psych-ward horror thriller that's sadly a lot closer in quality to "Sucker Punch" than "Shutter Island."

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Ward might not bode too well for Carpenter's come back, but he did do good things with what he had to work with (clichéd story and script).

March 2, 2013 Full Review Source: We Got This Covered
We Got This Covered

John Carpenter has made his first unintentional comedy.

October 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Gordon and the Whale
Gordon and the Whale

The Ward should send some chills down your spine, but it probably won't stay with you.

January 29, 2012 Full Review Source: IGN DVD

The Ward, while not stellar by any means, is absolutely worth your time.

October 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Dread Central

The movie's fluidity of motion is intoxicating. It's hard to argue that the so-so material is up to [Carpenter's] highest standards, but it can also be easily forgiven, and even enjoyed.

September 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

The master who gave us "Halloween," one of the most terrifying films of all time, can't provoke more than a chill in "The Ward."

September 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By no means a perfect film, but Carpenter has an unparalleled gift for constructing a sequence.

July 18, 2011 Full Review Source: Ebert Presents At The Movies

This is rusty 'Ghost of Mars' John Carpenter, not 'The Thing' John Carpenter -- and certainly not 'Halloween' John Carpenter.

July 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Times-Picayune

While a disappointment, The Ward is by no means a complete dud.

July 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

Insanity you have to cooperate with.

July 11, 2011 Full Review Source: Monsters and Critics
Monsters and Critics

May be the first ever Carpenter film that isn't immediately recognizable as such.

July 10, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Blather
Film Blather

'Ward' Script Not Up to Carpenter's Standards

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Boston Herald
Boston Herald

Genre veteran John Carpenter's sleekly professional ghost story is well-acted and directed but sadly derivative. Horror fans have seen it all before.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

The combination of an excellent supporting cast and a pliable theme work to offset the sizable debits incurred by the often rote direction and seriously iffy ending.

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: Movieline

If loud noises that turn out to be nothing are your bag, then you'll love John Carpenter's horror movie "The Ward."

July 8, 2011 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Audience Reviews for The Ward

People are just too mean to this latest John Carpenter film. The man hadn't made a film in ten years, and he has had a long and illustrious career. Not only that, but he directs widely acknowledged camp and horror films. This film, though certainly flawed, overindulgent, and mindless at times, is nothing worse than he had previously put out. There are a lot of great elements at work in this film, but it also has a bland follow-through and a hollow ending. There seem to be a lot of great things about the film, but nothing that brings it together to make it anything close to memorable. Carpenter cast indie darling Amber Heard, who is reaching acclaim in roles that usually have her driving fast cars, giving guff, and wearing breast baring clothing. This film is no different, as her first scene has her barefoot, wearing a slip, and covered in dirt. She is exploited, as are others, as the entire film revolves a group of girls. Kristen (Heard) is admitted to a psychiatric ward where she meets several other girls, each of whom are as bland and tasteless as the next. That's the one horrendous oversight in this film: none of the characters could be real people. Female characters are not well written in most films, I understand that, but here they made up the entire film which is too much to bear. They throw in a really cutesy little girl persona onto a young woman as well, and it's the most despicable thing I've ever seen. Still, having the setting be a 1966 psychiatric ward, having period clothing and sets, and having a ghost who is psychologically disturbed terrorizing and murdering patients? That sounds amazing. Even the ending was at least a bit inspired and somewhat original. The execution was just all wrong. Carpenter has done some amazing things with goofy premises before, but here he doesn't reign in the temptation to be crass and shallow. It's just not big enough or smart enough to understand its own premise, and that's a true shame, because this could have been as eerie and intelligent as "The Haunting" if it was given a chance.
November 5, 2013

Super Reviewer

Horror master John Carpenter has been absent for quite some time. This is his first directorial effort since Ghosts of Mars which was released in 2001. This is a film that had the potential of being a terrific supernatural horror movie. However this happens to be a dull, bland and unimpressive affair. John Carpenter, who is one of most legendary of horror directors, crafts a film that is formulaic and predictable. This had a very promising start, but in the end it fails to really grab your attention and it focuses more on delivering cheap scares and boring, not so well written dialogue. Carpenter has done far better work than this in the supernatural genre and he proved that with 1980's The Fog. The Ward is a mediocre movie that leaves horror fans wanting more out of their experience. I think John Carpenter can deliver a better film if he really puts his mind to it. This was disappointing affair, and I expected something much better than this. This is just a case of being an undeveloped horror picture that could have been fun and entertaining. However, Carpenter doesn't deliver and it just doesn't stand out among his other works. This film makes Ghosts of Mars look great by comparison and if I had to pick one of the worst that John Carpenter has made, it would have to be this one. As a horror film, it is void of effective scares that can leave you on the edge of your seat till the final frame. The Ward, given a rewrite or two could have worked well enough and be a fine return to form of Carpenter's early days. But I'm still waiting on him to create a more refined picture that will bring back the quality that his fans expect from such a unique talent.
December 24, 2012
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Oh dear you have to expect more from John Carpenter than this. A straight to DVD horror that has a very low budget and more of a 12A rating feel to it. Not scary, a few jumpy scenes and that's it. Well at least it has Amber Heard in it, to make it more interesting!
May 22, 2012

Super Reviewer

3 stars!
April 8, 2012
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

    1. Kristen: We have to get out of here.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Kristen: I'm not crazy.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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