The Ward 2011

The Ward

Critics Consensus

Lacking the hallmarks of his best work, The Ward proves to be a disappointingly mundane swan song for director John Carpenter.

33%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 72

27%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,664
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Movie Info

No one believes the claims of a young woman (Amber Heard) that a dead patient is stalking the residents of the psychiatric facility.

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Critic Reviews for The Ward

All Critics (72) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (24) | Rotten (48)

  • 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…

    William Goss

    Film.com
    Top 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…

    Scott Tobias

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

    July 8, 2011 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Carpenter's economical but mundane chiller is possessed more by previous ghoul-friend flicks than it is by his better work.

    July 8, 2011 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • 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 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • "The Ward" is bland shock therapy from the guy who reinvented bloody peek-a-boo with the classic "Halloween."

    July 8, 2011 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Ward

  • Feb 21, 2016
    Just perceptible that John Carpenter directed it due to its atmosphere and score. Other than that nothing original. A ballsy lead character.
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Nov 05, 2013
    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.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 09, 2013
    A very nice and entertaining Mystery. I dont understand why this felt in the "Horror" Genre?
    NaWie M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 02, 2013
    This wasn't a bad movie, for the most part, the scares were largely uninspired jump scares, the film doesn't build any sustained tension, as mentioned in one of the professional reviews here, but it does have some moments where the atmosphere feels spooky and the film is competently made. It was on its way to 2 stars before the twist. Of course, the twist messed all this up. I wouldn't say the twist is a slap in the face, I wasn't THAT offended by it. Basically, if you don't want it spoiled then just skip ahead, nothing that happened in the movie ACTUALLY happened as it was all just a fabrication of Alice's mind. So basically nothing that happened in the film actually matters, so it ends up feeling like you wasted your goddamn time. I don't think the ending, taken out of context, is a bad idea, I really don't, it's just when lazy people use it to get out of writing a decent ending to their stories where it starts to bother me. And this is one of those occasions where it's just lazy writing and a way to get out of everything that you've done without really putting much thought into it. The MOMENT Jared Harris started explaining what really happened is the moment I tuned out. There's just no thought behind it and it doesn't really make sense. It's just such a tired and cliched ending that I wish that we could just do away with this ending forever. No one can ever use it again, it's only helping lazy people end their movies in lazy fashion. That's never a good combination. Not that the film was good before the ending, but it's like a lot of horror movies, once the twist happens, everything after that keeps making less and less sense. I don't know what could've helped this movie, probably better thought-out scares and more sustained tension. I can't really recommend this film unless you must watch every movie John Carpenter has made, but this wouldn't rate highly among his filmography. Below average movie that is made worse by a stupid and lazy twist.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer

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