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Gothika
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Reviews & Ratings for
Gothika More at IMDbPro »

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132 out of 164 people found the following review useful:

Don't believe the hype, this is worth a look

7/10
Author: mstomaso from Vulcan
12 February 2005

Stars operating at the level of Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz are bound to disappoint critics along the way, especially when the critics are just waiting for some sign of weakness upon which to feed. While there is nothing wrong with any of the acting in this film - these are not the kinds of roles Oscar winners and nominees are expected to indulge in.

What's more, Berry and Cruz signed onto a film made by a production team which has typecast itself with some fairly disappointing ghost stories / horror films involving big-names in the recent past.

Finally, this is one of those cases where the trailer was so good that the film could not possibly follow it.

So what?

If you approach this film without expectations, and with an open mind, you will be entertained. It's a tight, disturbing psychological/supernatural thriller which, though a little predictable at times, nevertheless offers some frightening imagery and a few good solid scares. That said, this is not a film for people who have trouble paying attention or for people who need straightforward answers. If you don't really pay attention to what is going on in this film, you could easily dismiss it as a more adult version of Sixth Sense or just another dumb ghost story. This film deserves more credit than that.

Personally, I don't think it's a ghost story at all- but that is a question best left open.

I have seen a number of films by this team - House on Haunted Hill, 13 Ghosts and Ghost Ship. Of these, I found 13 Ghosts and the House on Haunted Hill to be entertaining, but not very intelligent. Ghost Ship was tremendously disappointing - even Gabriel Byrne could not save that film. Gothika is easily the best of the lot, and also the darkest. The film is shot in dark blue, black and gray tones, and the use of lighting is nothing short of artistic. Despite the cliché title, the occasional plot clichés, and all the negative publicity generated by critics, I found this film to be surprisingly entertaining, intelligent, and disturbing.

Most of the 'plot holes' cited by some reviewers here on IMDb are more likely gaps in the attention spans of the viewers themselves or intentional ambiguities designed by the production team. This, unlike any of this team's previous work, does not provide unambiguous explanations.

Cruz and Berry are, respectively, patient and psychiatrist in a high security prison for the criminally insane. The Gothic environment of this facility is not meant to be realistic, but surreal, and the effect works. From the first time you see the place, you question its own reality. The film constantly manipulates mood through cinematographic techniques like this.

Shortly after the film opens, Berry finds herself experiencing what some of her allegedly delusional patients talk to her about. Robert Downey's portrayal of her friend and, now, therapist, is uneven, but satisfactory.

To describe the rest of the plot would require spoilers, so I won't bother. Suffice to say that even the occasional predictability of this film did not detract from my enjoyment of it.

The film uses just enough ambiguity to permit the audience to wonder whether what they are seeing is really happening or whether it is a product of our protagonist's subconscious mind. And then, in the end, the film makes you question whether it matters.

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59 out of 74 people found the following review useful:

Feel the scare, don't look for logic

7/10
Author: dromasca from Herzlya, Israel
12 April 2004

'Gothika' may be looked at as an exercise in style. The plot is about a psychologist in a women's prison who wakes up one day to find herself on the other side of the bars, accused of having murdered her husband. She needs to prove her innocence, but the film is not what you expect. There will be not too much logic in what follows, and the borders between reality and halucination seem to be crossed by the director and script writer, not only by the characters.

What saves the film is the excellent acting of Halle Berry, Penelope, Cruz, Robert Downey Jr., and all the rest of the cast, the haunting setting, and the way the atmosphere is being build. The institution looks like some gothic building from outside, with blue lighted corridors inside creating an appropriate setting for the mood of the characters. Rain seems to poor almost permanently, kind of reflecting the fluid state of mind of the characters.

This film will not be easy to forget for me. Despite its ridiculous script and the conventional way the plot is being solved, the quality of the cinema is above average. Halle Berry is fantastic, and may have bought back her acting in a James Bond movie. Uneven but still memorable. 7/10 on my personal scale.

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49 out of 68 people found the following review useful:

Misses the mark, but not by much.

Author: mostlygreek from BLACKPOOL, ENGLAND
29 October 2004

I have read many reviews that seemed to think Gothika was a waste of time. Let me just say, it is not a waste of time. in fact, the film was very enjoyable. it was shot well and the special effects were sophisticated and well handled. The cast was full of surprises such as Bernard Hill(great actor but a strange role). The story was interesting and there was genuine tension throughout.

Berry's character is a doctor in a mental institute. she wakes up to find herself an inmate in the very place she works. Her colleague and friend played by robert downy jnr tells her that she has committed a horrific crime and nobody knows why. so the plot begins to wind its way towards a shadowy truth. However, without giving anything away, the key scenes where important truths are revealed to the audience are simply too clumsy. information is just handed over visually on a plate and leaves little to the imagination. some of the tension built up in

the first half of the film is lost. and the truth isn't quite as gripping and terrifying as we would have hoped(although thats not to

say it is pleasant).

Robert Zemeckis was one of the producers and i think it shows..there is some great camera work and some really interesting ideas but gothika doesn't have some of the subtle touches that What Lies Beneath had, but its easy to see some of the parallels between the two films.

Even though halle berry wears the same look of shocked disbelief throughout the film, she plays it with conviction. and a supporting role from penelope cruz certainly doesn't take anything away from berry.

all in all, gothika provides a good story, an average screen play and enough innovative ideas to keep its audience. but i would have been disappointed if i had paid to watch it at the cinema.

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42 out of 63 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Initial Two-Thirds of the Story, But Horrible Conclusion

6/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
10 December 2004

Dr. Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) is a psychiatrist who works in a penitentiary, in the mental institution sector. She is married with Dr. Douglas Grey (Charles S. Dutton), the chief of department where Dr. Pete Graham (Robert Downey Jr.) also works. Chloe Sava (Penélope Cruz), 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.

This ghost-story has an excellent atmosphere and photography, and the initial two-thirds of the story is really intriguing. I really expected an excellent movie, in the level of "The Sixth Sense", "The Others" or "El Espinazo del Diablo". Unfortunately, the writer got lost with his plot and presented a horrible, almost ridiculous, conclusion of the story. I am a great fan of horror movies and I liked "Gothika", even with such a silly end, but it could have been better and better. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Na Companhia do Medo" ("In the Company of the Fear")

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27 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

Pschologically creepy, but a little flawed

6/10
Author: mjw2305 from England
8 January 2007

Halle Berry plays brilliant criminal psychologist, Dr. Miranda Grey; an expert in what is rational, logical and sane. After she encounters a mysterious young girl, she finds herself confined to the institute in which she once worked; along side the patients she once treated. She has to rationalise what is real in her own mind, before she loses it forever.

The setting and atmosphere that is created in Gothika is excellent, and the movie is definitely creepy enough to jangle your nerves. Halle Berry, Penelope Cruz and Robert Downey Jnr all fit into their roles nicely; the problem is plain and simple. The storyline and script are too weak to achieve what this movie sets out to do, and because of some lame dialogue and a flawed plot the movie only manages to be decent; when it really should have been great.

6/10 It's still worth watching.

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40 out of 67 people found the following review useful:

Very Good Horror/Suspense Film

9/10
Author: Brandt Sponseller from New York City
11 January 2005

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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19 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

Scary, reasonably good movie

6/10
Author: TheOtherFool from The Netherlands
19 October 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm not too fond of these supernatural thrillers, but I must say Gothika did the job and scared the hell out of me. Mathieu 'Amelie' Kassovitz did a better job than most of the other directors trying to make that 'new Ring'.

Miranda (Berry) works in a clinic as a psychiatrist, only to wake up one day as... a patient. It turns out she killed her husband (and boss... hmm) quite gruesomely. Miranda tries to find out what happened while she is haunted by some spirit.

A couple of plot holes and a silly ending don't make it a particularly good movie, but I had my frights and fun. Better than most comparable movies.

6/10.

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15 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Okay, But Lacked Something

5/10
Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
27 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Boy, this started off promising but turned out to be a tough movie to sit through. I talked to several others who saw this film and liked it, but I thought it lacked something even though it had a decent amount of suspense and it entertained, for the most part.

Halle Berry plays a psychiatrist who is accused of murder. Through communicating through ghosts (give me a break!), however, she winds up helping to solve the case and find the real murderer. There were a couple of good twists at the end.

With an interesting cast that also included Robert Downey Jr., Penelope Cruz and Charles Dutton, I still think the film lacked something that made the viewer want to care more.

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20 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Flawed, familiar but a nicely done horror/supernatural thriller.

8/10
Author: Lucien Lessard from Canada
19 August 2005

A Brilliant Criminalogist/Psychologist Dr. Grey (Oscar-Winner:Halle Berry) at the mental hospital for woman at Woodward. Then one day, she finds herself as a Patient without knowing why. She finds out that she murdered her husband (Charles S. Dutton) and she has been seeing a Violent Spirit (Kathlenn Mackey) trying to help her to see the truth what happen to Dr. Grey and the Violent Spirit.

Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz (The Crimson Rivers, Hate) made a extremely familiar but a well made stylish supernatural horror film. This is the highest grossing film for Joel Silver (The Matrix Trilogy) and Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future Trilogy) Production Company-Dark Castle Entertainment. Kassovitz shows some strong visual style in the film makes this work. The film gets better with each viewing. One of the highlights is Matthew Libatique's cinematography (Phone Booth, Requiem for a Dream, Tigerland).

DVD has an sharp anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer and an terrific-Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. DVD has an fine audio commentary track by the director and the cinematographer. DVD also features a music video and the theatrical trailer. Berry gives a good performance but she surrounded by an solid supporting cast like Robert Downey Jr., Penélope Cruz, John Carroll Lynch and Bernard Hill. The film is supposed to take place in the Upstate New York but it is nicely filmed in the country side of Montréal. The film doesn't have much logic but for a supernatural horror film, this is nicely done. (****/*****).

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10 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Riveting Psychological Thriller!

7/10
Author: (bsmith5552@rogers.com) from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
3 May 2004

"Gothika" proves that Halle Berry is more than just another pretty face. Her talent is equal to her drop dead good looks. Berry plays psychiatrist Dr. Miranda Grey who is content in her work at an asylum and happily married to her boss Dr. Douglas Grey (Charles S. Dutton). A colleague Dr. Pete Graham (Robert Downey Jr.) also has eyes for the comely doctor.

One night Miranda's world is turned upside down. As she is driving home from work in a rainstorm, she is suddenly confronted by a young girl (Kathleen Mackey) standing in the middle of the road. Miranda's car goes off the road but she manages to return to the young girl. The next thing we see is Miranda waking up in the asylum as a patient and not knowing why she is there. She is told that she is suspected of murdering her husband but can remember nothing.

Dazed and confused and unsure of who to trust, she begins to try and fill in the missing blanks of her memory. Has she really gone mad or did she actually commit the crime? She begins to have flashback visions, especially after she learns the identity of the girl on the road that night. Is there an element of the supernatural at work here or is Mranda actually going mad? Director Mathieu Kassovitz keeps us guessing right up to the surprise ending.

Berry gives a memorable performance as the confused doctor. She alternates between rational and irrational behavior in convincing fashion. Penelope Cruz plays a patient that Miranda had been treating and whom she meets "on the inside". Downey does the best he can with his part as the doctor who might know more about Miranda's situation than he lets on. John Carroll Lynch plays Sheriff Ryan who had been close personal friends with the Greys, and who turns on Miranda when she is charged with the murder of her husband. Others in the cast include Dorian Harewood as Miranda's lawyer and Bernard Hill as the chief psychiatrist.

There are elements of the supernatural mixed into the plot to be sure, but it is the lovely and talented Halle Berry that makes this film memorable.

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