Corridors of the mind, like a labyrinth, leading nowhere; uncontrollable bursts of emotion (Run Baby Run) as respite from the solitude of confinement (physical and psychological); persecution and self-loathing finding an outlet through a generic supernatural mystery and its knife-through-the-heart twist. The Ward is not only a genuinely heartbreaking, multi-layered psychodrama, but arguably Carpenter's greatest work.
A masterclass in B-picture filmmaking. Carpenter takes on as pulpy and ridiculous a script as he has ever worked, and enlivens it with a ferocious sense of purpose. As with the best of Carpenter's work, even if this may not necessarily match up with it, every shot frames its subjects and moves with supreme confidence and disarming ease.
The setup and the central mystery of the film are cliches, and the turns that they take are eyerollingly obvious to anybody who's seen, say, more than a dozen thrillers, but one gets the sense that Carpenter and co. aren't interested in the mystery so much as they are the significance of the mystery. In that sense, it's a love letter to the genre: The stories that scare us are how we heal.