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Dr. Miranda Grey is a psychiatrist who works in a penitentiary, in the mental institution sector. She is married with Dr. Douglas Grey, the chief of department where Dr. Pete Graham also works. Chloe Sava, a patient of Dr. Miranda formerly abused by her stepfather, claims that she is frequently raped by the devil in her cell. After leaving the asylum in a stormy night, Dr. Miranda has a car accident, and when she wakes up, she is an inmate of the institution, being accused of an horrible crime and having no memory of the incident. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Robert Downey Jr. and John Carroll Lynch later appeared together in Zodiac (2007). See more »
The cuts on Miranda's arm that spell "NOT ALONE" change starting positions throughout the movie. "NOT" starts at the elbow, then the wrist, then back to the elbow. See more »
He came back again last night and tore me like paper. He opened me like a flower of pain, and it felt good. He sank into me and set me on fire, like he always does. Made me burn from the inside out.
How did you know it was the devil?
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Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) is a doctor at a psychiatric prison. On the way home one evening, she has to take a detour, and has a supernatural experience that winds up with her being an inmate in the same psychiatric prison, now a patient of her former colleague, Pete Graham (Robert Downey, Jr.). Gothika is an exploration of what happened to Miranda, as she gradually uncovers a mystery.
This was a very effective combination of a horror film and a suspense/thriller for me. I rated it a 9 out of 10, only subtracting one point for a somewhat awkward beginning. While it's not anything particularly groundbreaking, films do not need to be unprecedented for me to enjoy them a lot and give them high ratings.
Visually, Gothika follows the late 90s/early 00s trend of desaturated films that have a predominant color--blue in this case. It creates an atmosphere that works very well for a horror/suspense film of this type, and that is heightened by the Gothic sets and production design (the one shot we get of the exterior of the psychiatric prison makes it look like an old castle). Although the overall structure is more along the lines of a pedestrian thriller, the film adeptly weaves horror and unusual stylistic elements throughout its length, creating a whole greater than the sum of its parts. The performances are good, and the script and direction will keep you guessing most of the time. My only other slight negative criticism is that the ending is somewhat abrupt and could be seen as leaving some loose threads. However, it wasn't enough of a misstep that I subtracted another point--my score remains 9 out of 10.
This is a Dark Castle film, so it's perhaps not surprising that some of the horror-related effects have a similarity to Thirteen Ghosts (2001), House on Haunted Hill (1999) and Ghost Ship (2002). It's also a safe bet that if you liked those films (I loved all three), and the idea of melding them with a thriller, you'll like Gothika as well.
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