Sunday, April 22, 2012


Sometimes I forget just how terrific this movie is. Taking a break this afternoon from the 2nd book in The Hunger Games trilogy, I turned on the TV to find Gothika streaming its opening credits. I decided to watch it again since it was the middle of the day. It's easy to be courageous when it's light outside. I remember watching this film for the first time and, even though that was almost 10 years ago, I still get the chills thinking back on some of the graphic images. This, my friends, is movie editing at its best.

The movie opens with Miranda Grey (Halle Berry), a doctor in a mental institution, frustrated with Chloe who is one of her patients. Chloe is a rape victim who can't cope with reality and from time to time embellishes her rape recount. Miranda shares her frustration with her husband Doug (Charles Dutton) who happens to run the facility. On her way home that night, Miranda sees a girl in the middle of the road and gets in a car accident trying to avoid her. Miranda wakes up to find that she, herself, is now an unwilling patient at the mental institution where she worked. Enter Dr. Pete Graham (Robert Downey, Jr.) and the rest of the amazing storyline begins to unfold.

We come to find out that Doug has been savagely murdered and Miranda is accused of the crime. Halle Berry's portrayal of the misunderstood patient is played to perfection, allowing the viewer to feel her vexation as the people she used to work with are now treating her like some random nut job. The beauty of the screenplay is Miranda's own self-doubt about her sanity, leaving the audience to wonder about it as well. Are the ghosts she sees and the disembodied voices she hears simply delusions? You'll have to see for yourself.

The creep factor is high for this thriller considering the setting within the mental institution and its oddly flickering florescent lights. The cinematography and music are executed well causing you to be on the edge of your seat, when you're not jumping out of it, that is.

On my Scare-O-Meter of 1 to 4 jumps, I give Gothika 3 jumps for not only its scare factor but for its excellent screenplay and originality.

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