johnlink ranks GOTHIKA (2003)

I’ve seen this once before upon its release, and remember thinking it was an above-average horror movie. Since it came out at the height of Halle Berry’s over-exposure, I was surprised to like it at all. My stance on her has softened a little bit (despite the horrible PERFECT STRANGER), and I was in the mood for something creepy, so I went with Gothika.

This is the story of a psychiatrist (Berry) trying to figure out her own mystery.

I watched GOTHIKA (2003) on 10.14.09. It was my second viewing of the film.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAIN THE SAME.

FILM

There are some things which do not work in this film, for example the CGI is distracting at a couple of points, particularly the climax. However, the level of suspense and general creepiness is well maintained. There are two or three moments which provide a good jump. Sure, they are often cheap jumps, so we are not talking about groundbreaking on the level of Kubrick’s THE SHINING. But this film does what it sets out to do, and the cinematography, mise-en-scen, music, and lighting all work cooperatively toward a successful goal. SCORE: 6

MOVIE

I remember the movie ending a certain way, and watched the entire thing this second time confirming that. So, when something else entirely happened at the end, I could not help but be impressed. That is sort of a Catch-22. The ending is not on the level of, say, THE USUAL SUSPECTS (which I think anyone would be hard-pressed to forget), but on the other hand, this film provided good entertainment on a night when I was out for a creepy horror flick. I got what I wanted. SCORE: 7

ACTING

Halle Berry is quite good in this. Her character is grounded in reality, so her moments of insanity come out of people not believing her. On the other hand, Penelope Cruz goes to the “I’m-playing-a-crazy-person” handbook and does things like rub her head roughly when she says the word ‘brain’. Robert Downey Jr., as always, is solid. His role is important in its deceptiveness. I did have an issue with Charles S. Dutton playing Berry’s husband. It felt off, like he should be playing her Dad. They really only had one scene to establish chemistry, and I had a lot of trouble buying it. I blame the casting and writing for that more than the acting, but consider casting part of this category. SCORE: 5

WRITING

The weakest part of this film is its script. I feel like there are many moments which defy reality, not in terms of it being a ghost story, but in terms of how the world works. I’m fairly certain a doctor who had psych patients and then commits murder would not be put in the general population with those same patients. I’m fairly certain a woman escaping prison would not have it so easy. And I’m still not sure how Halle Berry is allowed to be walking around at the end of this film. The dialogue and the mystery aren’t particularly bad, but many of the situations lead to plenty of eye rolling. SCORE: 4

FINAL SCORE

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 7; ACTING: 5; WRITING: 4

6+7+5+4+0= 22

FINAL SCORE: 5.5

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~ by johnlink00 on October 14, 2009.

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