Critic Reviews



Based on 18 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
While by no means a masterpiece of the form, John Carpenter's The Ward is an economical period piece that still effectively demonstrates what a skilled technician can accomplish in a single location with a compact cast and sturdy old-school effects.
Village Voice
Carpenter does what he's always done well here: individualizing shorthand personalities in a group under siege. This is Carpenter's first all-female ensemble, and the inmates are uniformly well-played.
At least Carpenter the spook-meister knows how to goose you.
Slant Magazine
Its ostentatious sense of horror -- think later-day Argento -- is far from suggestive, though some of its queasier moments effectively tap into our fears of not-so-bygone forms of invasive physical therapy.
Fans excited to see John Carpenter back in bigscreen action after nine years' absence will find limited cause for joy in The Ward, a horror opus that briskly -- maybe too briskly -- charts ghostly doings at a nuthouse.
Nothing about The Ward's script or direction has much snap. The dialogue is never witty, the characters are indistinct, the story is set in 1966 for no relevant reason, and the scares are strictly of the "thing jumps loudly out of the shadows" variety.
Boxoffice Magazine
Typically, Carpenter thrives on modestly budgeted films like The Ward, but this one comes off as an amateurish misstep due to unoriginal storytelling from fledgling screenwriters Michael and Shawn Rasmussen.
The Ward succeeds mainly as a checklist that keeps it consistent with Carpenter's nearly forty years of work. It has none of the smart genre appeal that put him on the map, instead resembling a desperate knock-off by someone with far less talent. Carpenter either lost his groove or the will to use it.
So yeah, the great man is welcome on our screens any day. On the other hand, Carpenter's comeback packs very little of his usual cinematic flair. It's not even all that scary.
Lacking a single serious scare or sly idea, the movie dies in ways that merely mediocre horror films can't even dream of.

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