4.0 out of 5 stars Well I liked it...
Gothika may not be for everyone, but it is a good movie, and it is clear that the writers and director put a lot of effort into it. Halle Berry plays one of her best roles yet as Dr. Miranda Grey, who assumes a career at a mental hospital. On the way home from work, Grey encounters a strange girl standing in the middle of the road - and eventually winds up in the cell of...
Published on June 16 2004 by D.W. Williams
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsatisfying
Gothika starts off well and seems to be establishing a truly unique story, then quickly spirals downhill into a boring and cliched ghost story. I was unfortunately expecting something great, especially with the incredible Halle Barry in the lead, but was utterly disappointed in the outcome. It's worth a watch, but ultimtately ends up as unmemorable and unsatisfying. The...
Published on July 12 2004 by Mark Twain
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well I liked it...,
This review is from: Gothika (Widescreen) (DVD)Gothika may not be for everyone, but it is a good movie, and it is clear that the writers and director put a lot of effort into it. Halle Berry plays one of her best roles yet as Dr. Miranda Grey, who assumes a career at a mental hospital. On the way home from work, Grey encounters a strange girl standing in the middle of the road - and eventually winds up in the cell of the hospital she works at! Things turn from bad to worse when she learns that she has murdered her husband - and she is led on a wild goose chase to discover what really happened the night before, and what is the purpose of the strange images she is encountering. I don't really classify this as a horror movie, because I wasn't really scared at all when watching it - it's more of a dark sci-fi film, much like The Ring or The Others. I can't give Gothika 5 stars however, because it has little replay value. It's a refreshing experience, but is not to be seen too often. But if you're looking for a good rental, Gothika is perfect for you.
4.0 out of 5 stars A HALLE HORROR STORY,
This review is from: Gothika (Widescreen) (DVD)Halle Berry dominates the screen when she's on it. And not just with her obvious beauty. But her presence is so 'BIG', you can't help but keep your eyes glued to the screen. Halle elevates GOTHIKA with a performance that is both subtly performed and wildly erratic at times. I did wonder if perhaps her character had gone insane. GOTHIKA is a moody, creepy and engrossing ghost story that pulls some weird twists and some real shocks. Berry is given excellent support by Robert Downey as her psychiatrist friend; John Carroll Lynch as the sheriff who was also her husband's best friend; Penelope Cruz as the tormented patient Chloe; and Charles Dutton as her doomed hubby. By the time the movie reaches it's climax, you'll slap yourself on the head and say, of course! But, at the same time, how does Halle get off the hook---the movie never explains and it's "sixth sense" ending is also a little disturbing, hence only the four stars. GOTHIKA is no where as bad as most critics have said; it's a good ghost story and a wonderful performance from Ms. Berry.
4.0 out of 5 stars This ghost story puts Halle Berry through the wringer,
This review is from: Gothika (Widescreen) (DVD)"Gothika" is one of those movies that is not as bad as you heard that it was although certainly it has some major problems. For one thing the movie tries so relentlessly to be eerie with all the spooky lighting and music that it threatens to be carried along by the style rather than the substance. Then there is the fact that we know that in the "real world" a prison psychiatrist is not going to end up in the same prison where they practiced if the world decides that they are insane. Doing so would mess up the treatment of every patient she had been working with, so we know that Halle Berry's Miranda Grey is there for a reason, which gets us thinking ahead of the plot and trying to figure out whodunnit. Is director Mathieu Kassovitz being so heavy handed that he is obvious or is he skillfully setting up a red herring? Good question. You can answer it for yourself after you see the film.
Miranda is a psychiatrist in a dark and dreary prison where we are introduced to her as she is working with patient Chloe Sava (Penelope Cruz). Miranda seems clinical and cool, if not cold. One of the other staff psychiatrists, Pete Graham (Robert Downey Jr.) seems interested in her, but she has recently wed her boss, Dr. Douglas Grey (Charles S. Dutton). That night, after taking a swim in the prison pool, she drives home during a thunderstorm and is forced to take a detour. The figure of a ghostly girl appears in the middle of the road and Miranda crashes her car. Miranda tries to help the girl, who looks like she has been the victim of something horrible, but then the girl bursts into flames. The next thing Miranda knows she wakes up a prisoner in her own institution where she is told by Pete that she has been accused of brutally murdering her husband with an axe. Miranda remembers nothing.
Chloe explains to Miranda that once you are declared to be officially insane anything you say will automatically be considered to be the ravings of a lunatic. Miranda is put in the impossible position of convincing her captors that she is sane. However, that is really not much of a problem because she is so distraught and confused that she convinces both herself and the viewers that maybe she is insane, and if that is true, then maybe it is true that she killed her husband. Berry's performance bounces back and forth between screaming hysteria and a guarded detachment in an effort to survive everything that is being thrown at her by not only the authorities trying to convict her of murder but also of her own mind. For those that thought Berry's Oscar for "Monster's Ball" did not prove she was a real actress, "Gothika" proves she is clearly more than a pretty face.
There is a paradox in this film, what some may consider a fatal flaw, in that in the final analysis all of the pieces do not fit. Even once you know what is going on it does not really explain everything that is happening. Watch the film a second time and you will see this is clearly the case. However I think this was really more a question of keeping us guessing rather than having problems with story construction. Kassovitz and screenwriter Sebastian Gutierrez are developing a sense of mystery and terror that literally extends to the end of the film where the final scene provides another piece of what is really an unfinished puzzle. Listen to Kassovitz's commentary on this DVD and he will repeatedly talk about what they did to make individual scenes scary, without a clear regard for what it meant for the logic of the film. Either you buy into the end result or this movie is going to grossly offend you. There probably is not going to be any middle ground on this one.
Final Note: Kassovitz earns points by filming a group shower scene with Berry, Cruz, and over a dozen other women that is totally in keeping with the atmosphere of the film. These women are all naked, but the scene is filmed in such a way that they are not nude (that will make sense when you see it). When that scene started I was mentally rolling my eyes at what I thought was going to be coming up next and Kassovitz simply did not go there. That says something.
4.0 out of 5 stars somehow better than most modern horror movies,
This review is from: Gothika (Widescreen) (DVD)first of let me just say that i hate modern ghost movies. its all the same, and it all is too damn scary(at least to me). the first time i saw Gothika, it scared me to death! ghost movies give me the creeps first of all because i fear the supernatural and the impossible more than the natural and probable. but this movie just hits my fears all together---it shows that the mental ill are not ill, just gifted; haunted by that gift. ive been in a psychiatric hospital 3 times. everytime i tried to tell them that i was not nuts, just gifted with a connection beyond all logics. this movie really proves(even though its just a movie)that the insane are not insane at all. that the things they see, hear, and believe in are real. with that aside, this is still a good movie. heres the storyline(even though youve heard it a million times):
a therapist at a psychiatric institute for the criminally insane comes in counter with an unknown girl in the middle of the road. after wrecking her car, the therapist gets out to check on the girl. i wont tell you what happens next except that the therapist wakes up in her own mental hospital in a solitary cell. her husbands dead. shes accused of killing him. she knows that after she saw the girl, she blacked out and that was all of her memory---no killing. now we take a jump-out-of-your-seat ride throughout a story of a supposedly insane woman who tries to escape from her asylum and prove that all the strange, ghostly happenings are of real danger. at the end, we find out who has been raping chloe(an inpatient), who the "ghost" really is, why her husband had to die, and in general: why we had to sit through this terrifying yet interesting film! this is for sure worth a look. i havent seen many modern ghost movies, yet this is for sure different thatn any of them ive ever seen. if you like weird movies about mental institutions and the happenings that go onn inside them, check out Session 9 and Sanitarium. cant think of anymore right now. but it is time for me to shut up and let you go rent this movie or buy it!
4.0 out of 5 stars Great suspenseful thriller,
This review is from: Gothika (Full Screen) (DVD)Psychiatrist Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) wakes up inside a cell at the very institution she has been working in this movie. One dark and stormy night, Miranda takes a detour and almost runs over a young girl (Kathleen Mackey) and the next thing she wakes up in the mental institution. It turns out she has killed her husband (played by Charles Dutton) and left a cryptic message in blood on the wall. The movie takes you through lots of twists and turns, from start to finish. I thought the cinematography was great and really set the pace for the movie, as well as the suspense factor. It was a great movie, however the end was very cliché and typical horror movie resolution. However, it's still a great movie and Halle Berry proves why she is a fine actress yet again, and why she deserved to win that Oscar a few years ago.
4.0 out of 5 stars Unreal Reality,
This review is from: Gothika (Widescreen) (DVD)One of the truly great features of this movie is how confusing it is during the first half. Halle Berry, playing Miranda Grey, is struggling to know whether she has suddenly become insane, or whether something else is going on. It takes her a while, but eventually she realizes that, as improbable as it seems, a ghost is haunting her.
Miranda Grey is a psychiatrist. She deals with people who behave strangely and often have a hard time dealing with reality. She drives home one day and encounters a girl in the road, but her encounter is weird. The next thing we know, Miranda is waking up in a hospital, accused of murdering her husband. The next portion of the movie is designed to make you confused, mirroring Miranda's own confusion. Who really killed Miranda's husband? Why was Miranda's husband killed? Is there really a ghost or is Miranda insane? Why does the ghost keep writing "Not Alone?"
The movie does plod a bit, but the plodding is intended to give you time to think about the movie and what is happening, allowing you to add to your own confusion. It takes about half the movie for the viewer to become convinced that a ghost really haunts Miranda, which is about the time that Miranda herself realizes that she is being haunted. Once Miranda catches on that the ghost wants her to do something, then the movie enters a whole new phase. Fortunately the ghost is working with her to help answer all the questions that the viewer asks in the first half of the movie, including what I thought was a chilling ending that I did not see coming.
Portions of the movie are predictable, and we are left with a plot hole big enough to drive a bus through, but I still found the movie enjoyable and would recommend it to people who like horror movies that make you think. Even if you find the ending predictable, then you can pat yourself on the back about how well you figured it all out from the clues sprinkled throughout the movie. A solid four star effort.
4.0 out of 5 stars Ghosts believe in me,
This review is from: Gothika (Full Screen) (DVD)GOTHIKA is a whodunit with big doses of psycho-drama and supernatural trappings. Halle Berry is great as Miranda Grey, the woman falsely accused and determined to prove her innocence.
The major players here, Berry and Robert Downey and Penelope Cruz, are so strong you're able to overlook the plot holes and inconsistencies. There are a LOT on inconsistencies, most revolving around how easy Berry finds it to get in and out of her locked cell.
The movie has a nice grey and blue look to it. It feels a little surreal and oppressive.
GOTHIKA slickly manipulates us into suspecting a number of characters of the crime Berry is accused of (we never believe it's her, of course.) It works well until near the end, when the real killer is exposed. It might have worked better if a few clues had been sprinkled in earlier in the movie, making it a little more plausible.
Limp Blizkit's music video "Behind Blue Eyes" and a commentary by the director and the director of photography is included. Liked the video, turned the commentary off after about 15 minutes.
4.0 out of 5 stars "Logic is overrated.",
This review is from: Gothika (Widescreen) (DVD)This is a supernatural mystery that comes across like a mixture of "The Gift" and "The Sixth Sense." Halle Berry finally proves she can carry a film as a lead actor with her frantic performance of a woman who no one, not even the audience, is sure if she is insane or not. I was hoping throughout that she was sane and that her innocence would be made clear, thus I was trying to finger the real killer during the whole movie. The plot kept me guessing about a lot of things: her state of mind, who she could trust(if anyone), who could the killer be? I was actually interested all the way through. My advice is not to try and figure things out, for the plot will unfold. Trust me. The ending even presents the possibility for sequels. Overall, this was enjoyable, if not completely realistic or logical. But as Halle Berry states in the film, "Logic is overrated." So get yourself a bag of popcorn and enjoy.
4.0 out of 5 stars Spousal Abuse...,
This review is from: Gothika (Widescreen) (DVD)OK, I heard a lot of negative things about this movie, so I put off seeing it. What got me to finally watch it was the fact that I love Halle Berry. I could watch her in just about anything! In GOTHIKA, Miranda Grey (Ms. Berry) is a psychologist who has a head-on collision with the supernatural. On her way home from work (at Woodward Penitentiary for Women), she gets caught in a torrential rainstorm, is detoured, and almost hits a girl standing in the middle of the road. Miranda swerves around the girl and into a ditch. After climbing out of her car, she goes to the girl to make sure she's alright. The girl spontaneously catches fire and puts her flaming hands on Miranda, causing her to black out. Upon waking, Miranda finds herself incarcerated in the very penitentiary she works in, sedated, and accused of murdering her husband (Charles S. Dutton), who also happens to have been her boss. Things get really weird from here! Miranda is visited several times by the ghost-girl from the road and given clues to what's really going on. Can she put the pieces together before being tried for a murder she barely remembers? Robert Downey Jr. plays a subdued role as Miranda's doctor and former colleague. Penelope Cruz is Miranda's ex-patient turned fellow inmate, who has clues of her own to share. Why did Miranda kill her husband? How can she escape her prison in order to work out this mystery? The answers to these questions are the ice-cold backbone of this story. Bathed in darkness, rain, and blue-filtered light, Gothika wears it's forboding spirit on it's sleeve. However, it's well done and Halle bumps this movie up a few notches just because she's in it. She's a dominant force and carries the film well. A spooky thriller-chiller...
4.0 out of 5 stars Miss Halle Is BERRY Good In This Odd Thriller, Plot-Twister,
This review is from: Gothika (Widescreen) (DVD)Miss Halle portrays a prison psychiatrist, Charles S. Dutton her boss, husband & love of her life, Robert Downey, Jr. as her peer/collegue, & Penelope Cruz as an inmate/patient with some schizophrenic delusions of the devil, himself, burning/entering her body.
As it starts - It was a dark & stormy night...
From there things get really creepy & all mixed up. What is true? What is imagined? Who is crazy? Who is not? A dead girl, a tatooed man, an invisible being, blood written messages on a wall, an axe...Lots of really graphic images PLUS totally spooky lighting all add to the experience.
This film has you trying to figure out the plot from the get go & has many "red herrings"... Once the plot is alluded to, however, the film starts to unravel faster and faster to it's eventual, but not totally predictable end.
The only thing that I couldn't figure out is why they titled this movie, GOTHIKA. It is only said a total of ONE time in the whole of the film.
Regardless, this movie has plenty of punch, a couple of jumpy parts, some sado-masochism and at the end it is actually left open for a possible sequel, which I wouldn't mind seeing...
If you liked Stir Of Echoes, The Sixth Sense, or The Others, you will certainly enjoy this gem! Happy Watching!
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Gothika (Widescreen) by Mathieu Kassovitz (DVD - 2005)
CDN$ 9.93 CDN$ 3.99