Gothika (2003) Movie Review

Catherine BelyakovaDecember 24, 2019

Dr. Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) is a psychologist at the Woodward Penitentiary for Women where her husband is the Chief Administrator. Everyday she encounters dangerous women like Chloe (Penélope Cruz) and is familiar with delving into the insane minds of the inmates.

Driving home one night, during a storm, she swerves into the ditch to avoid a young girl who is standing in the middle of the road. This is the last thing that Miranda Grey remembers before she wakes up at the penitentiary. Instead of waking up as the respected psychologist she finds that she is now an inmate! Confused and disorientated her friend and former colleague, Dr. Pete Graham (Robert Downey Jr.), explains to her why she is there.


This supernatural thriller/horror starts off well. Dr. Grey is talking to Chloe, a dangerous inmate, who tells her of visits from the devil at night. The atmosphere in the institution is creepy and unnerving. The suspense and tension build as night falls and the weather turns stormy. Perhaps the thunder and lightening is clichéd but nonetheless adds to the strong foreboding atmosphere.

The idea of Dr. Gray finding herself on the wrong side of the cell door is interesting and she struggles to make sense of her situation. After all she is an intelligent, medical professional and ideas of ghosts, demons and possession must have a logical explanation.

Unfortunately, after a good start the plot begins to lose its way and there are some silly parts that ruin the creepy atmosphere that had been created so well at the beginning of the movie. Things go from bad to worse as the anti-climatic ending is so unlikely that it is devoid of any suspense or tension.

With such a good cast you would be justified in expecting better. Its not that the performances are bad, it’s just that expectations increase when there is a strong cast in a movie.

The Bottom Line: If you enjoyed movies like, What Lies Beneath, you will get something out of this but after a promising, spine-chilling start it is disappointing.


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