Gothika
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FAQ for
Gothika (2003) More at IMDbPro »

The content of this page was created directly by users and has not been screened or verified by IMDb staff.
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FAQ Contents


A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Gothika can be found here.

No. Gothika is a supernatural horror movie based on a screenplay by Venezuelan screenwriter Sebastian Gutierrez.

What is 'Gothika' about?

Doctor Miranda Grey (Halle Berry), a criminal psychiatrist at the Woodward Penitentiary Hospital where her husband Douglas (Charles S. Dutton) is also the chief psychiatrist, suffers an accident one evening on her way home and wakes up three days later in Woodward Hospital to find that she's been admitted as a patient, that her husband is dead and she is accused of killing him with an ax, and that her once-upon-the-time colleague, Dr Pete Graham (Robert Downey Jr.), now thinks she is criminally insane.

Forced to take a detour because of a sinkhole, Miranda used another road that took her through an old covered bridge. When she emerged from under the bridge, she saw her car was headed straight for a young blonde girl standing in the middle of the road. Miranda swerved to avoid the girl, and her car ran off the road. She climbed back to the road to make sure that the girl was all right and found her bleeding. The girl then suddenly burst into flames. The next thing Miranda knew was when she awakened in the hospital.

Chloe Sava (Penélope Cruz) killed her stepfather after years of abuse. She was also being raped while in the hospital, but all her ranting about Satan resulted in Miranda concluding that Chloe was delusional. After Miranda is admitted to the hospital as a patient, however, she actually hears the man raping Chloe and sees a tattoo of the Anima Sola on his chest.

Anima Sola (aka 'Lonely Soul') is a medieval image depicting a soul, often a female, suffering in the flames of purgatory. Her arms, on which hang broken chains, are lifted towards heaven, indicating that her suffering is over and she is about to rise to heaven. It is most prevalent in Catholic cultures. Depictions of the Anima Sola can be seen here, here, and here.

How does the movie end?

Miranda begins to put things together and realizes that the man who has been raping women at the prison is somehow connected to the murders at Willow Creek and that the Anima Sola tattoo is somehow involved. While being held in jail, she asks to speak with Sheriff Ryan (John Carroll Lynch) and bounces her ideas off him. When she describes a psychological profile of the killer, she realizes that she is actually profiling Ryan. He realizes it, too, and attacks her, but she manages to get away. Ryan goes after her with a rifle, revealing the Anima Sola tattoo on his chest and admitting that he and Doug have been killing young girls since Doug was 15 years old. Suddenly, the ghost of Rachel Parsons (Kathleen Mackey) appears in front of him, and he tries to shoot her, but Rachel sends a stream of fire to engulf him as Miranda puts a bullet through his brain. A year later, Miranda and Chloe are seen walking down the street together, talking about how, once you open the door to the supernatural, you can never close it. Miranda claims that she has done just that. They make their goodbyes and thank each other, Chloe thanking Miranda for helping her and Miranda thanking Chloe for teaching her how to listen. As Chloe drives away in a taxi, Miranda notices a young boy standing in the middle of the road, a firetruck speeding towards him. Miranda reaches out to the boy, but the truck passes right through him. The final shot is of a Missing Child poster with the boy's picture on it.

What does the title mean?

Gothika appears to be a word coined for this movie with little explanation of how it relates to the story. Numerous definitions have been created by fans of the movie, e.g., 'gothika applies to the loneliness of seeking answers without the belief and support of the people you depend on' or 'gothika is a situation in which someone sees or feels things that no one else does while those who don't think those thoughts see those who do as crazy, when they're not.' Neither of these definitions are verified by any published dictionary. Most likely, gothika is merely an affectatious spelling of gothica and is similar to other -ca words such as 'galactica' (things pertaining to the galaxy) or 'erotica' (things pertaining to erotic media). Thus, gothika can best be described as 'things pertaining to gothic styles,' as in architecture (i.e., the Woodward prison resembles a creepy gothic castle), art (the Anima Sola), the supernatural, the macabre, and preoccupation with death. Even the movie's photography, with its focus on blues and blacks, is suggestive of the dark and gloominess associated with gothic literature. Just for the record, the true Goths were East Germanic tribes who, in the 3rd and 4th centuries, warred against the Roman Empire and later adopted Arianism (a form of Christianity). In the 5th and 6th centuries, divided as the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, they established powerful successor-states in the Iberian peninsula and Italy, respectively.

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