The Ward

Master of horror John Carpenter returns to form -- and to the director's chair -- for this chilling thriller in which a young woman, Kristen (Amber Heard), is sent to a mental institution with a past as dark and haunted as her own. Terrorized by a ghost, each of the other patients in Kristen's ward begin to disappear, and that's just the beginning of her long nightmare. Jared Harris ("Mad Men") and Danielle Panabaker (Friday the 13th) also star.
HD Available
Netflix Rating: 3.4
Rotten Tomatoes: Rotten 32%
Critics' score: 32   Audience score: 27   Rotten Tomatoes page
Top Rotten Tomatoes Critics

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

William Goss,

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. full review

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

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

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

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

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

Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

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

Lou Lumenick, New York Post

"The Ward" is bland shock therapy from the guy who reinvented bloody peek-a-boo with the classic "Halloween." full review

Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

Continues the painful decline of a director who seems more nostalgic for past glories than excited about new ideas. full review

Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

How depressing to discover that John Carpenter is the man running this operation. His talent for building and sustaining suspense has now warped into flaccid attempt at fright and ogling ringers for Britney Spears and, in Heard's case, Scarlett Johansson. full review

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

Basically, this is a ghost story merged with a slasher film and sealed with a Shutter Island twist. But at least Carpenter the spook-meister knows how to goose you. full review

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

That this doesn't knock one backward out of one's seat is maybe unavoidable. But the goods here are good enough to make one eager for more. full review

Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies

Feels an awful lot like a low-budget knockoff of Zack Snyder's "Sucker Punch." full review

Andrew O'Hehir,

The kills aren't terribly suspenseful or dramatically staged and they quickly grow repetitive. Worst of all, they're not particularly scary. full review

Christy Lemire, Associated Press

Carpenter does what he's always done well here: individualizing shorthand personalities in a group under siege. full review

Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice
Similars Available on Instant
  • Release Year: 2011
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Runtime: 88 min
  • Available From: Oct 15, 2011
  • Queued by: 1905 people
Directed By
John Carpenter
Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker, Laura-Leigh, Lyndsy Fonseca, Jared Harris, Sydney Sweeney, D.R. Anderson, Mika Boorem