While by no means a masterpiece of the form, 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.
—Michael Rechtshaffen Hollywood Reporter
...keeps its claws in a viewer, though it never wholly attains the promise of its opening credits.
—Nick Pinkerton Village Voice
Many Carpenter films are genre jambalayas, mishmashes of horror and sci-fi with the feel of westerns; the director's old-fashioned style gives even his future visions the sensation of something having been unburied from a distant past. But The Ward is a straightforward psychological spooker...
—Ed Gonzalez Slant Magazine
Sport(s) the genre veteran's familiar stylistic sheen, but undone by its script...
—Dennis Harvey Variety
While he [Carpenter] does bring his trademark craftsmanship to this snake-pit mental-asylum thriller, the picture has too many old-movie bits rattling around in it.
—Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly
...not the comeback film for which his still-dedicated fans have been holding in their cigar smoke all these years.
—Chris Cabin filmcritic.com
...another middling spookfest.
—Andrew O'Hehir Salon
The Ward is competently made, but it's the wrong kind of ?haunting,? rendered pale by the memories of all those corny B-movie premises that Carpenter once invested with real style and passion. What happened to that Carpenter? Did the boogeyman finally catch up to him?
—Noel Murray Onion AV Club
...a dull, by-the-numbers psych-ward horror thriller...
—Lou Lumenick New York Post