The Ward

January 21st, 2011


The Ward

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John Carpenter and Amber Heard in The WardStill of John Carpenter in The WardStill of Danielle Panabaker in The WardStill of Mamie Gummer and Amber Heard in The WardStill of Jared Harris and Amber Heard in The WardStill of Amber Heard in The Ward

A thriller centered on an institutionalized young woman who becomes terrorized by a ghost.

Release Year: 2010

Rating: 5.6/10 (12,187 voted)

Critic's Score: 38/100

Director: John Carpenter

Stars: Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker

In 1966, in North Bend, Oregon, the runaway Kristen is captured by the police after burning down a farmhouse and is locked in the North Bend Psychiatric Hospital. Kristen is introduced to Dr. Gerald Stringer, who uses experimental therapy. Then she meets the inmates Emily, Sarah, Zoey and Iris and the tough nurse Lundt. During the night and in the shower later, Kristen sees the ghost of a woman and she learns that she is Alice Leigh Hudson, a mysterious wicked intern that has disappeared. When Iris is ready to go home, she is attacked by the ghost of Alice in the basement and murdered. She vanishes and the inmates decide to seek Iris out. Then Sarah is abducted by the Alice and also killed; the next one is Emily. Meanwhile Kristen escapes from her room and meets Zoey, expecting to protect her. However, Zoey is kidnapped by Alice and Kristen runs to Dr. Stringer's office. She snoops his desk and finds a report with the truth about Alice.

Writers: Michael Rasmussen, Shawn Rasmussen

Amber Heard - Kristen
Mamie Gummer - Emily
Danielle Panabaker - Sarah
Laura-Leigh - Zoey
Lyndsy Fonseca - Iris
Jared Harris - Dr. Stringer
Sali Sayler - Tammy
Susanna Burney - Nurse Lundt
D.R. Anderson - Roy (as Dan Anderson)
Sean Cook - Jimmy
Jillian Kramer - Ghost Alice
Mark Chamberlin - Mr. Hudson
Andrea Petty - Mrs. Hudson (as Andrea L. Petty)
Tracy Schornick - Cop #1 (as Tracey Schornick)
Kent Kimball - Cop #2

Taglines: Only Sanity Can Keep You Alive


Official Website: Official site |

Release Date: 21 January 2011

Filming Locations: Des Moines, Washington, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: MYR 55,784 (Malaysia) (13 March 2011) (20 Screens)

Gross: $498,974 (Italy)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

John Carpenter's first full-length feature film since Ghosts of Mars, and his first feature not shot in Panavision since his debut Dark Star.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs: When Kristen enters the rec room the first morning, the original "What's My Line?" is playing on the TV. For the entirety of its run, it only aired on Sundays at 10:30 PM (ET) and was never broadcast in the daytime, not even in repeats. However it's later revealed this most of what 'Kristen' experienced were actually Alice's hallucinations.

Kristen: Look at me!
Sarah: Sorry, I don't converse with loonies.

User Review

Cloning Carpenter

Rating: 6/10

I'm 36 years old and in 1981 the first horror movie I saw was John Carpenters "Halloween". I was 6 year old and subsequently I became an úber fan of the Director. I've worshiped the great ones (Assault on precinct 13, Halloween, The Fog, Escape from New York, The Thing, Prince of Darkness) enjoyed the good (Christine, Star Man, Big Trouble in little China, They Live, In the mouth of madness, Vampires) and stomached the bad (Escape from L.A, Village of the damned, Memoirs…, Ghosts of Mars). "The Ward" seems to fall into all of these categories. Sometimes it's great, more often than not it's good but regrettably when it's bad it's really bad. Perhaps it was the lack of a traditional Carpenter score (although the score by Mark Kilian is suitably haunting, memorable and atmospheric) or maybe it was the somewhat derivative "jump" scares or could it have been the inconsistent overall tone because to me it felt like I was watching a movie made by someone trying to emulate Carpenter rather than a movie by "The Master" himself. Don't get me wrong, technically it's excellent and it contains a few moments of genuine tension but there was something missing from the ingredients that make a great Carpenter movie and I think that something is called suspense. It's a shame really because with its eerie location, its linear, albeit uninspired storyline and its quirky characters this had the potential to bring the Director back to the top where he truthfully belongs but throughout I couldn't help feel that Carpenter's become jaded within the genre. His techniques that were groundbreaking during his prime have been exploited by every other Horror Director of the last 20 years. So instead of evolving above this and carving a revolutionary way forward as he once did so gracefully, Carpenters now imitating his old self and his techniques just don't seem to cut it anymore. To be fair it's an enjoyable and fast moving 88 minutes but from an old Pro like John Carpenter I was expecting something a lot more terrifying. When Carpenter reviewed his initial cut of "The Fog" back in 79 he found it plodding and just not scary enough so he went back and re-shot scenes then re-cut it into the classic it is today. I think if Carpenter had taken the same approach with this movie it could've been up there with the best of the best but something tells me that he's become indifferent, lost his passion and dare I say "only in it for the money". Over time I may grow to love this like I grew to love "Prince of Darkness" but as of right now it's left me feeling somewhat dis-satisfied.


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