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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 11 October 2011
I'm a massive John Carpenter fan and I only found out that 'The Ward' was out at the cinema by accident.
It's been a hell of a long wait for a new movie since 'Ghosts of Mars' but I think that 'The Ward' is just about worth it. The cinema I watched it in was only half full, which made it a perfect atmosphere for me.
Ok, there's nothing new or original about the storyline, but an auteur like Carpenter can take a low budget and simple script and turn it into something that is still far better than most higher profile, bigger budget horror movies out there.
The tried and tested steadycams are still in operation as well as those red herring/jump out of the seat moments that Carpenter does better than anyone else.
I think that the young actresses playing the ward patients are actually very good and Amber Heard is a decent stoic heroine in the Jamie Lee Curtis/Sigourney Weaver mold.
The ending is a touch predictable, but I still think that 'The Ward' stands head and shoulders above the majority of horror films one may watch in 2010/2011 as it doesn't rely on gore or other gross effects, just to shock an audience.
It's credit to John Carpenter's skill as a director that using simple techniques such as lighting, camerawork and suspense still make for a more than satisfactory chiller and all in all, 'The Ward' is a good addition to John Carpenter's already considerable cannon.
I just hope that Carpenter fans like myself aren't kept waiting another 10 years for the next one.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 March 2015
After a gap of nine years, horror legend John Carpenter returned to the movie screen directors chair for this solid if unspectacular horror movie. Though some of the critical reactions to it stink of an over expectation for a return to his former glories, the plain fact is that it's just safe horror film making.

Plot finds Amber Heard (The Stepfather/All the Boys Love Mandy Lane) as troubled arsonist Kristen. Shunted into a mental institution post haste, Kristen finds herself menaced by a violent ghost that seems intent on ridding the ward of all its female inhabitants.

And there you have it, a bunch of hopelessly pretty girls (seriously, are all institutionalised girls good looking babes?) are stalked and killed by a female spirit who is dressed up in poor rubbery make up. The odd boo-jump comes and goes, making it not a complete dead loss on the scare front, while the cast are solid in performances and Carpenter shows some trade mark camera techniques to make certain scenes pulse with anxiety. It then hurries along to the big reveal, which sadly disappoints because it just comes off as something done far better in horror/thriller films previously. It was easy money for Carpenter, and us acolytes don't begrudge him that, while it isn't the embarrassment some have made it out to be, but it is average fare and not a great way for JC to bow out from horror movie making, director wise. 6/10
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on 21 April 2011
After 10 years away from the big screen it was great to get to the cinema to see a limited release of The Ward. I enjoyed it a lot and with the lights off there's a few moments that will make you jump - even scenes that aren't meant to be scary! The dialogue is a little wooden at times but it's beautifully shot by Carpenter and fans will appreciate what he has done on a small budget. People keep moaning about the ending being like this or that but what is "original" these days? Everything has been done. I had no idea how it would turn out and it was a nice surprise and ending for me personally. It's not the huge return we'd like to see from such a great director but it's a decent return and a good little movie that is just about the perfect length for such a film at 88 minutes. 4 / 5.
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on 5 March 2013
This film starts out as something you assume and ends up elsewhere. Brilliant camera shots and editing. The film theme has been copied but if I tell you it will spoil the surprise. A great film.
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on 2 October 2014
Predictable Psych Ward Drama; with a ghoul!!

It's ok to watch, however the 'ghoul' is somewhat horror dummy.. and laughable on occasion.. as if the only thing a 'ghoul' can do is 'growl' in fancy dress..

The scene shots are ok, typical one flew over the cuckoos nest setting, but without the great character actors, which is a shame. The Doc is kinda creepy, in a 'clean' disney style'.. the acting is not that great & as a result I think they missed a great opportunity to make it more realistic, instead of cardboard.. That said, it is watchable, and not too unpleasant.. which makes it an ok movie to watch .

Watchable, but not 'great', interesting, but not brill.. with an ending that shows that all patients need is not ECT treatment, but to jump out a window and they are miraculously 'cured'.. happy ending for a movie horror.. predictable end shot.
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on 4 January 2016
I love the work of John Carpenter, he definitely uses many visual techniques that excite the senses (see his original classics like THE THING, HALLOWEEN and ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK). This movie has a great soundtrack which reminded me of Carpenter's classics from the 1980s and the atmosphere created in this tense asylum thriller really makes this stunning. Amber Heard is just mesmerising as the lead character Kristen and this movie depicts her story as she is taken into a mental asylum and attempts to escape. THE WARD is part jail-break escape movie, part mystery thriller and part horror ride. It has a great twist, which would've been predictable if this was made by another director, however Carpenter handles the thrilling chase, scares and direction with such skill that you genuinely feel the shocks and surprises, the ending is totally believable, and like a lot of the horror movies Carpenter has made, this has excellent human drama, the entire cast of actors and actresses are excellent. A must see movie for horror and thriller fans and an easy 5 stars from me.
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on 19 February 2016
I'd never heard of Amber Heard before I watched this (no pun), and I never read a review before I watched it. So from a non-film buff (who has decided to start watching films whilst on sick leave in attempt to catch up with my cinema-going colleagues), and an ignoramus of modern cinema, I report from a puritanical perspective. For me, the genuine horror arises from the psychiatric treatment which was the norm circa 1960. You no doubt have these ideas yourself from countless other films and legend - compulsory injections of anti-psychotics , electric shock therapy, strange fellow prisoners / patients (depending on your viewpoint), nasty, authoritarian nurses etc. And of course there are the pre-conceived ideas we all have about the mentally ill experiencing hallucinations. Amber gives a fair, and universally assumed, portrayal of someone who is mentally ill, who is apparently tortured by the ghost of a former patient. The execution of the story is handled with adieu; there are the generic shock scenes in which the ghost manifests itself, with visions of its appearance along with gore at the times naturally anticipated by the audience. And there is a suitable, if conventional, twist at the end. Unfortunately, the ending only fuels an already-established cliche and left me feeling a little disappointed. It's OK, and I had nothing better to do when watching it, but I wish I'd caught up on a classic movie rather than this.
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on 3 July 2016
This is probably going to be JC's last offering as a director. It isn't a bad film, just very good either. Some decent moments in it but they can't save the film. The plot is Shutter Island with girls. I got the feeling that JC got bored half way through his directing duties and made do with the first take on most scenes.
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on 5 April 2015
So many scare films think the best way to get you is lots of blood and gruesome effects. JC doesn't rely on this. He knows the expectation and sudden shocks and surprises are the key. If you don't leap out of your seat at least once you're deader than the ghost that haunts The Ward. Filmed in a real mental hospital the atmosphere is spot on. The tension is maintained throughout and even though your waiting for them the shocks work. The creature effects could have been a touch better but that is not important. A well made scare film and well worth your time.
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'John Carpenter' has, down the years been associated with the making of some memorable 'movies', great to see that he's still got the 'knack' of bringing a shock' or two to the screen.
this film tells of 'Kirsten'(Amber Heard) and her inter-actions with a small collection of patients on a ward in a psychiatric hospital.
However, all is not as it seems, horror is on the menu, as an apparently deformed former patient 'Alice'(Mika Boorem) deals out her revenge on those that had harmed her ?
Pretty 'tense' stuff with a few 'shock' moments along the way.....worth a spin.
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