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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Gothika

Starring: Halle Berry, Penelope Cruz
Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Rated: R
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: November 2003
Genres: Horror, Suspense, Mystery

*Also starring: Robert Downey Jr., Charles S. Dutton, Bronwen Mantel, Bernard Hill, Dorian Harewood, John Carroll Lynch, Amy Sloan

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

Miranda has no rights. Dr. Miranda Grey is played by Halle Berry, who overacts with a vengeance In GOTHIKA just like the rest of the cast in this preposterous picture. One day Miranda is a prison psychiatrist treating Chloe Sava (Pen‚lope Cruz), who thinks she is being raped by the devil, and the next day Miranda wakes to find herself in a prison mental facility for the murder of her husband. Where do they send her? Why to the exact same facility where she used to work and where her dead husband, Dr. Douglas Grey (Charles S. Dutton), was the head. Even Miranda's lawyer doesn't believe her. A horror movie with a vengeful ghost, GOTHIKA also stars Robert Downey Jr. (THE SINGING DETECTIVE) as Dr. Pete Graham, Miranda's old colleague and now her doctor.

The only question is what to make of this turkey, which falls back on every horror movie clich‚: sudden loud noises, flickering lights, crashing thunder and pouring rain. Mostly, the movie is stuck in the purgatory between being merely bad and being laughably bad. But, the last act, filled with one howler after another, is strictly for laughs, and they are laughs of derision, not fun.

Mathieu Kassovitz's ridiculous direction is well matched to Sebastian Gutierrez's cheesy script. "Come on Honey, time to wash away your sins," a sadistic nurse tells Miranda before the nurse makes her take off her robe and shower with the rest of the inmates. (By the way, the answer to your question is, "no." Unlike her overhyped nude scene in SWORDFISH, Berry shows nothing this time.)

At one point in the narrative, Miranda remarks, "Right now my mind is running on empty." The writer's mind seemed to have been on it the whole time.

"Why are you doing this to me?" Miranda screams repeatedly to everyone in sight. You'll be thinking the same thing.

GOTHIKA runs 1:35. The film is rated R for "violence, brief language and nudity" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes

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