Gothika Cover Doctors – they’re lucky b*stards, aren’t they. They’re in the perfect place to be if they are ever sick. They have the perfect knowledge to know if they’re ever sick. Plus they have very fetching white overcoats to wear too. Just like the people in this film by Director: Mathieu Kassovitz; and Actors: Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr, and Penélope Cruz. It was made in 2003 and lasts for 98 minutes.


Now I feel really sorry for poor Doctor, Miranda Grey (Halle Berry). For a start, she has a very intense head-shrink session with her parent, Chloe Sava (Penelope Cruz). Next, one dark and stormy night whist she is driving home from work, by accident, she swerves her car into a tree, because of a battered looking girl who is barring her path. But to maker matters even worse, is that when Mirada gets out of her car to see what state the girl is in, suddenly, the girl bursts into flames and Miranda appears to wake up inside a cell within the institute that she works in.


Now her college, Dr. Pete Graham (Robert Downey Jr), is present when Miranda comes too, and he tries to clam her down be explaining to her that she has been in a catatonic state for quite some time, before telling her that she is has been incarcerated in the first place for killing her husband.

Double sh*t!

Very alarming news, I am sure that you will agree. But not as alarming as what happens to Miranda next. She is medicated. She is thrust into institutional life. She is interrogated by the Sheriff (John Carroll Lynth). And she is examined by Pete as well, whom obviously thinks’ that Miranda is agitated with this strange turn of events.

Well, and so she should be too, especially as within an undetermined period of time, Miranda starts experiencing visions of the girl on the road, whom taunts her, whom batters her, and whom stabs her with savage intent.

Triple sh*t!

Granted, at first, Miranda tries to dismiss these ghostly apparition, and suspects that Pete has something to do with her current predicament – because he was once attracted to her you know.

However, over time, Miranda’s perception changes quite a bit. Initially, due to some information bestowed upon her by ex-patient, Chloe, about perceptions and circumstance. Then subsequently, due to spotting a picture of the girl on the road in the office of the chief of the institute, Dr Phil Parsons (Bernard Hill), whom explains to her that this girl is in fact his dead daughter, who was killed four years ago.

Still, I suppose that is why what next transpires if a right ghostly affair all in all. As escape attempts are made - revelations are re-played - haunting's are conveyed - and vengeance is finally paid.

Not the end for Miranda, but rather a new beginning.

When I first sat down and read the synopsis for 'Gothika', I thought to myself “Sounds good. A supernatural thriller with Berry, Downey, and Cruz – what could it hurt?”. Well, maybe there careers’ and my brain, HA! OK, I don’t want to sound too judgmental about this film, oh no, as the actors are good, and the overall ambiance is very well executed as well. I just wished that the writer of this story could be executed too, HA!

Well, personally speaking, I just found this movie a very peculiar all in all, where things seemed to scramble too and throw between artistic license, and mumbled story-line. Honestly, at certain points through out this flick, I started daydreaming about things that I should be doing tomorrow (I have to buy somechili).

And when a film does that to me, it can only mean one thing – it’s boring me.

Robert and Halle in Gothika

Now why was I board? For me, I found the whole things somewhat un-relatable at a character piece. Fair enough, I understand that this is a film about a woman who was possessed by a savage spirit to kill her husband, only to then be locked up in a mental institution and rot in there for all eternity. But that does not mean that I could not at least sympathize with the main protagonists? Or does it?

You see, that was the main issue for me – the connection between the actor, the story, and the audience – it all just seemed a bit sterile and flat. Plus, in addition to this, some of the direction and ‘mood effects’ started to p*ss me off too – as they appeared overly contrived, trying to make a fairly dramatic scene overtly dramatic in tone.

Penelope and Halle in Gothika

Listen now, I do not want to take anything away from the actors involved – because Berry, Downey, Cruz, and the rest, really do try to put on a show, and act there hearts out to the fullest – especially Berry. Also, there were one or two scenes – mainly with Downey in them – in which you can’t help but lean into your sofa with more vigor, and ponder what is going to happen next.

Regretfully, though, those scenes were too few and far between, and overall you just prayed that ‘Gothika’ ended on a high note – which is did – kind of – with a nudge and a wink.

Blood on the wall in Gothika

Overall, this movie isn't a bad-bad supernatural thriller – as the actors are good, the tension is malleable, and in someway it reminds me of a luke warm version of ‘Donnie Darko’, just with Haley Berry in it. So if you are a fan of this genre of movie, it’s well worth the watch only for the brief glimpse you get of Berry’s butty – very nice.


GOTHIKA GOTHIKA Reviewed by David Andrews on July 11, 2011 Rating: 5
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