Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 18
  2. Negative: 7 out of 18
  1. 70
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Jul 5, 2011
    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.
  3. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    Jul 5, 2011
    At least Carpenter the spook-meister knows how to goose you.
  4. Reviewed by: Michelle Orange
    Jul 9, 2011
    The story's obvious and various potential is left to stand on its own, and the scares are largely uninspired.
  5. Reviewed by: Ed Gonzalez
    Jul 5, 2011
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Jul 5, 2011
    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.
  7. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Jul 7, 2011
    Quaintly old-fashioned in style, plot and special effects, this familiar tale of female derangement and institutional abuse is too tame to scare and too shallow to engage.
  8. Reviewed by: Noel Murray
    Jul 7, 2011
    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.
  9. Reviewed by: Robert Abele
    Jul 8, 2011
    The Ward is bland shock therapy from the guy who reinvented bloody peek-a-boo with the classic "Halloween."
  10. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Jul 8, 2011
    The Ward feels less indebted to cinema's past than a desperate attempt to keep up with the present. 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.
  11. Reviewed by: Steve Ramos
    Jul 5, 2011
    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.
  12. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jul 8, 2011
    In the end, Carpenter offers a reasonably nice payoff to this whole misfire.
  13. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Jul 6, 2011
    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.
  14. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    Jul 7, 2011
    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.
  15. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Jul 8, 2011
    A dull, by-the-numbers psych-ward horror thriller that's sadly a lot closer in quality to "Sucker Punch" than "Shutter Island."
  16. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Jul 7, 2011
    Even by the standards of mental-institution-movie misogyny, what an accidental but predictable creepshow this is.
  17. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Jul 8, 2011
    Carpenter's economical but mundane chiller is possessed more by previous ghoul-friend flicks than it is by his better work.
  18. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Jul 5, 2011
    Lacking a single serious scare or sly idea, the movie dies in ways that merely mediocre horror films can't even dream of.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 11
  2. Negative: 4 out of 11
  1. Sep 17, 2012
  2. Sep 17, 2012
    A magnificent return to form from john carpenter, a wholly original story, consistent and creepy tone, and decent performances steer this film into classic territory, kudos, carpenter, kudos. Full Review »
  3. Jan 10, 2012
    Poor movie, made worst by a ridiculous ending which has been done over and over in the past. There is no glossing over the fact that this has got to be one of the poorest movie I have seen in a long time (and I've watched some rubbish!!) Full Review »