This 2003 horror movie is a woeful entry into the moribund scary-ghost-girl sub-genre.


In a performance as limp and lifeless as her hair, Halle Berry plays a psychiatrist who’s inexplicably married to Charles S. Dutton and embroiled in a ghostly murder mystery. There are countless watery motifs, making it a sort of Splutter Island. Perhaps the non-stop rain is designed to drown out the babbling dialogue.

“Logic is overrated,” Berry says at one point, as though excusing the film’s plot holes the size of swimming pools. Why does every light in this hospital constantly blink? Why is this movie even called Gothika? Why has director Mathieu Kassovitz gone from the brilliant La Haine to this? Maybe they started with a good script, but it got wet.

Then there’s the awful music, effects and plot – you don’t have to be a psychiatrist to see these twists coming. Stylistically, the film commits the twin crimes of shooting entirely in that stupid blue hue so popular at the time, and using what looks like the Harry Potter font. There are welcome appearances from Penélope Cruz, John Carroll Lynch and Robert Downey Jr. – but not even Iron Man can save this one from oblivion.

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