Review of "Gothika" (2003)

Review of "Gothika" (2003)
Gothika (2003) - Director: Mathieu Kassovitz - Starring Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., Penélope Cruz. May contains spoilers.
Updated: 11-20-2003

Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson for

"Are you scared? Well, you should be," Penélope Cruz tells co-star Halle Berry in Gothika. The only thing missing is the beat, and then: "You're on Scare Tactics!" But Cruz can console herself with other fun lines such as, "He opened me like a flower of pain."

Yep, Gothika is one loopy movie. Just like the other new Dark Castle Entertainment film productions from Warner Bros., (The House on Haunted Hill, Thirteen Ghosts and Ghost Ship) Gothika is definitely style over substance. Whether you're willing to pay full price at the box office to see that is up to you, but if you go in knowing you're not seeing the next classic-to-be, you just might have a little fun.

Unlike those other films (for the most part), Gothika does have some substance over style in the talent department -- director Mathieu Kassovitz did The Crimson Rivers, a serial killer yarn that wowed the critics a couple of years ago, and headlining star Halle Berry is a real-live Academy Award-winning Best Actress. No slouches themselves, costars Robert Downey Jr. and Penélope Cruz are both friendly with various awards (Downey, Jr. was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for Chaplin, and Cruz won a Goya for Open Your Eyes).

The story of Gothika is crazy but lurid fun: Berry plays a criminal psychologist who wakes up after a car accident inside the self-same psych ward she once supervised. Her husband (Charles S. Dutton) has been brutally and bloodily murdered, and the waif-like ghost of a blonde teen is stalking the good doctor. So what's a girl to do? She befriends a teary patient (Cruz) who claims that she's being raped by the devil, and she tries to convince her skeptical friend and former colleague (Downey, Jr.) that she is not insane. With the words "Not Alone" carved on her arm and her penchant for talking into mirrors, she has her work cut out for her.

There is definitely some unintentional humor in Gothika and the actors seem to be taking their roles far too seriously, but it is also dripping with dark and creepy horror atmosphere, and there are some genuinely chilling haunting sequences as well (some of the jerky-moving phantoms from Thirteen Ghosts are back on duty here in the psych ward). It's actually a beautiful movie to look at, and taken at face value it is 90 minutes of an eerie spook-fest and that's that.

Basically, Gothika is very similar to its Dark Castle Entertainment cousins: if you enjoyed the scares in The House on Haunted Hill, Thirteen Ghosts and Ghost Ship, then Gothika will fit right in with your large popcorn and your giant-sized cola.

Latest User Comments:
That movie sucks!!! I watched it with a friend and we knew what was going to happen in every part of the movie. It´s a copy of many horror movies, such as "Stir of echoes", "The sixth sense" or "what lies beneath". It repeats the same stuff: - A girl who was killed and came back for revenge - The same kind of conversation that not surprise at all: "- I saw that girl!!- Said Miranda, pointing out the picture - That´s impossible!- Said her father. - Why? - Because she´s dead!" Oh, what a surprise!!! I didn´t realized that!!! Please, they think we are stupid or what??? - They repetead the same kind of creepy moment: Miranda closes her eyes and the music stops... then, she opens her eyes again and... oh, the ghost is in front of her!!! that´s not horror, that´s the same thing we have seen thousend times!!!! And, apart from being a bad copy, it has a lot of things that are senseless. For example, why the dead girl hits Miranda if she wants Miranda to help her??? The ghost is always hurting her, why??? It´s a very dissappointing movie. It has a very original idea, but a very awful script. VENGANZA
03-11-2004 by venganza discuss
every once in awhile in the world of horror movies there comes a horror movie which is more than the typical stereio type horror movie. this movie was not all about ridiculously overaged teens that jave the usuall cast of a pretty girl , a jock, a nerd and an asshole. this movie accually has a plot. i thought this movie was pretty good although i dont recall weather the two killers had a motive but hey i dont think they needed one. any who i give this movie 4/5:)
02-21-2004 by shiftyc discuss
This is a good scary movie. Lots of chills, a good plot, good acting, and pretty scary! Recommended - it's not at the movies anymore, so rent it when it's on DVD.
02-03-2004 by hoodjam discuss
this website is very kool but it can leave an affect on people this website gave the boy ideas that he can kill everyone that was teasing him at school and now look where he is!!!!!!
12-13-2003 by alsome discuss
the horror films are the best films of the world but my friend Eli says the Embrujadas is the best film
12-12-2003 by loba herida discuss