The Ward sets an unwanted benchmark for all, once great directors, to aspire to, in order to fizzle into obscurity. Just when you thought John Carpenter couldn't be more out of touch, Ghosts of Mars proved that in droves, with today's standard of film making, its actually pretty upsetting to watch him attempt such mediocrity, knowing full well the talent he once possessed. The Ward revolves around Kristen, a confused young adult forced into a mental institute, where all is not what it seems. And without spoiling the entire film, not that you'd mind, that really is about all that is going on in this bland and heartless film. Where to begin, firstly the script, sadly not penned here by anyone decent, is woefully dreadful, every character has no character or sense of progression, the general concept of the film is in no way original or engrossing and it suffers from an overwhelming sense of repetition. While watching The Ward, you will witness a young woman constantly attempt to escape a mental hospital, only to be flung back in her room, countless times, with the same lack luster security, I've seen super markets with tighter security than this place. The script just has nothing to say, there is no character, no message, no one to root for, it has next to nothing going for it, which is completely evident when Carpenter is filling in the blanks with solid bouts of visuals between dialogue, when the film actually becomes watchable. The film is horribly miscast in everyone bar Amber Heard, who is the star of the show, she is clearly a brilliant talent, considering how much she manages to get from nothing for her role here, but everyone else is just wrong. The Ward's supporting cast is full of gorgeous looking women, with your archetypal conditions tacked on, it almost feels as if they turned up on set and picked their mental insecurities out a hat, leaving Heard ruling the roost and becoming all you really care about. It's not like Carpenter has presented something ugly here either, as a good chunk of the visuals are solid, the location looks unsettling enough, some of the gore is well executed and he gets a chance to include some gorgeous tracking shots, the problem is that everything feels so empty, there never feels like a threat is round the corner, no sense of desperation or paranoia, hell you will be confused for the most part and not because its intelligent, but because its clear no one had any idea what they wanted to do until the end. There is one scene, luckily one of the films longest, in which Heard and another inmate attempt to escape, which is utterly terrific, reminding us why Carpenter was a force to be reckoned with, in a brief 5 minutes he achieves something excellent, with genuine thrill and suspense, only to completely shut down, as if going beyond the confines of the script is an automatic fail. The Ward is utterly forgettable, it has next to no scares, a beyond salvageable script and its painfully clear that Carpenter is just going through the motions. It has some solid visual work and an occasional daring moment, but nothing you will get remotely hot and bothered about.