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Overall Rating
2.9

Awesome: 6.38%
Worth A Look34.04%
Average: 20.21%
Pretty Bad: 22.34%
Total Crap: 17.02%

5 reviews, 64 user ratings


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Gothika
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by Chris Parry

"Who wrote this thing, a fourteen-year-old kid with developmental problems?"
2 stars

I like scary. I love scary. Problem is, nobody seems to know how to do scary anymore. With Jeepers Creepers 2, the filmmakers forgot the fact that what made the first Jeepers Creepers film scary was that you never saw the monster until late. It was the unknown that made you shiver, and when that unknown was revealed ten minutes into the sequel, all that was left was jump scares and teens in jeans. Gothika falls for the same mistake, revealing a spooky ghost ten minutes into the film, and then taking the incompetence to a whole new level when it can't decide whether the ghost is the bad guy or not. After a while I was missing the teens in jeans.

Halle Berry is a doctor in a mental hosiptal, filling her days with diagnosing crazies and making out with her much older, far rounder asylum-running husband. But one evening, as she drives home in a rainstorm, she swerves to miss a girl standing in the middle of the road and crashes the car. Next thing you know Halle's on fire, then she's waking up in a psycho-cell... at the hospital she's been working in as a doctor.

Well, we're twelve minutes into the film and already we're scartching our heads wondering what on earth the filmmakers were thinking. I mean, this isn't just a plot-hole, this is a plot-chasm. It's like putting the prison warden into the yard with the lifers, or having the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan open a Wal-Mart in South Central Los Angeles. After years of pumping these patients full of sedatives and telling them they're nuts, now she's going to join them in the communal shower? Gimme a break.

But it gets worse. It seems Halle killed her fat, bald, old husband, which is why she's now incarcerated. While she's sitting wondering what the hell is going on, she's visited by her ghost friend, who seems to enjoy flicking the lights on and off, and leaving cryptic messages for Halle to work out.

Now this is where it gets REALLY stupid. The ghost wants something from Halle, and seems to have the ability to write messages on walls, or even carve them in Halle's arm, yet she doesn't have the ability to make those messages CLEAR. "Not alone"? What the hell does that even mean? I've seen the film through to the end and I'm still not certain what the ghost was trying to say.

And neither is the writer, Sebastian Gutierez, it would seem. Gutierrez earned his chops writing and directing the steamy thriller Judas Kiss, but his work here as a scribe is substandard in every respect. The dialogue is awful, the plotline is all over the place, and the concept is entirely wasted. Director Mathieu Kassovitz, who you might remember as the romantic lead in Amelie or as the director of The Crimson Rivers, has style up the wahzoo but no way of turning that style into substance as the script veers off the road more often than Halle after a hit'n'run.

First the ghost is scary, then the ghost is trying to pass on a message, then the ghost is beating six shades of shit out of Halle, then she's giving messages again, then she's eville incarnate, then she's saving lives. When you do find out who the bad guy is I DEFY YOU to explain how the first scenes with the ghost could have been staged by the killer. I mean, does the murderer bring the ghost back from the dead? Does the ghost work in cahoots with the murderer? Or murderers? And if so, why is she giving hints? AARRGH?!

Come on, people. Writing a screenplay is hard, but spotting one as patently unready for prime time as this is no difficult task. The concept itself - the psych doctor sent to hospital for a murder she doesn't remember committing, as a ghost works to get her in more trouble - is a good one. A vengeful ghost, annoyed at some long ago slight that resulted in death, this I can buy. But I can't buy a word of the rubbish that is Gothika.

Lights flashing on and off are not scary. Overweight cops with sexual problems are not scary. Both together? Not scary. Or even mildly entertaining.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8347&reviewer=1
originally posted: 05/06/04 18:24:01
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User Comments

7/24/14 bhsuzfvdu USA 4 stars
5/02/10 Doug Horrible 1 stars
1/23/09 Psychotic angel Cold shrink learns empathy, but the movie is not very good. 2 stars
9/16/08 janie this movie scared the crap out of me..but very good plot. 4 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner Well Made! 4 stars
6/26/08 Mario Mediocre movie thats not very scary. 2 stars
5/14/08 me Hey man it was a great movie. sit back and relax and try not to be so literal. 5 stars
5/03/08 mb Too Trippy 2 stars
2/28/07 Beau it was shockingly disturbing and it had great acting it had good drama and suspense 4 stars
2/28/07 Stanley Thai One of the great things is that this film looks great and has some chills and thrills. 4 stars
12/28/06 David Pollastrini a bit slow 2 stars
4/30/06 TLoop I liked this movie a lot, great atmoshere & color scheme 4 stars
9/20/05 Carolyn Rathburn I loved this one, just enough drama and suspense 5 stars
9/01/05 ES If it stars Hallie Berry in anything other than a supporting role leave it alone 1 stars
8/12/05 Sully definitely scary...lots of tension and twists....good flick 4 stars
6/09/05 Enrico If you see it in a dark room with a projector and a good audio, like me, it is AWESOME! 5 stars
5/23/05 Steve Newman I agree with the review by Holland. I thought th emusic first class - enjoyable & watchable 4 stars
4/02/05 Cynthia Willingham This is stupid. I laughed at the 'scary' parts. 1 stars
3/24/05 Alice Colwell just plain boring 2 stars
3/04/05 TOTAL CRAP TOTAL CRAP 1 stars
1/31/05 New Jersey Rules SHIT 1 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams the twist at the end was RIDICULOUS 2 stars
11/22/04 Bobby Horrible. The ghost isn't scary; she's annoying. The mystery is crap and the "twists" suck. 2 stars
11/19/04 Jessica It was ok, but it was Robert Downey Jr. that made me want to watch it. 4 stars
11/08/04 psycho black dwarf Had a hard time believing Norm from Fargo as a hardcore inked baddie 2 stars
11/08/04 alchemist1066 a psycho-ghost romp, similar to "What Lies Beneath" 4 stars
7/23/04 Jannet Kwan Creepy just plain creepy I am so glad I am not in her shoe 4 stars
7/23/04 American Slasher Goddess Bland and boring. A waste of time. 1 stars
7/22/04 Nikolai Scared me asleep. Naked women don't hold a candle to likes of Anne Francis 2 stars
6/22/04 S.F Hell be brief...it sucked ! 1 stars
6/19/04 Denise Duspiva good plot 4 stars
5/23/04 Scarecrow The film has no consept!! 1 stars
5/21/04 nina loved it! 5 stars
5/18/04 AfroFett Boring, unscary, predictable... 1 stars
5/11/04 FGA Boring, Unoriginal, and just plain LAME! 1 stars
5/09/04 Charlene Javier Was this supposed to be scary? 2 stars
5/07/04 wylene I thought it was pretty good. 4 stars
5/06/04 David The scariest part was Halle sticking her tongue in that big lump of goo at the start 3 stars
5/02/04 American Slasher Goddess Boring and ruined by Berry's terrible acting 2 stars
5/01/04 john bale Style and logic of old gothic horror films , some genuine scary moments with sexy Halle 4 stars
5/01/04 susan lee actors overall better than movie itself 3 stars
4/15/04 alice OK Movie, but allready done before 3 stars
3/24/04 p.davidson completely derivative. a boring boring film. 2 stars
3/22/04 TAE pretty good, some parts really scared me 4 stars
3/07/04 Zach G. Anyone notice this movie was practically identical to 'What Lies Beneath'?? 3 stars
3/05/04 max scared the shit outta me, but saw the ending coming! 4 stars
2/25/04 Chartreuse Onyx A veritable crock of nonsense about women into wishin' 1 stars
2/25/04 Julia Cox Starts as promising wrongful accusation drama; languishes into supernatural mumbojumbo. 2 stars
2/23/04 Naturezrevenge Relatively predictable,vaguely disturbing and well excecuted.Had a "greasy" feel to it. 4 stars
1/21/04 Betty White Mindless, badly acted thriller; it's more like a comedy. 1 stars
1/03/04 A F Over acting. Haven't I seen this movie about a million times already. 2 stars
12/02/03 kawaii50 It's a movie...I had no expectations but I wasn't disappointed 4 stars
11/30/03 Xalt Immersive. Freaky. Flipped me out. I liked it. 4 stars
11/29/03 nick2k watch the ring instead... 3 stars
11/29/03 Emperor's New Clothes? Nope. Just a Fat, Ugly, Naked, Guy. Formulaic and contrived. Still scared me and then made me feel laugh for being scared. 4 stars
11/26/03 eeweepeerf story stopped after the 1st 20 minutes, then it was like the same scene repeating itself. 1 stars
11/24/03 KS Scarred me and suprised me! 5 stars
11/24/03 mike Not at all scary. Completely unorigional. 1 stars
11/23/03 Nisha I think that Gothika serverd it's purpose. I was scared and entertained. 5 stars
11/23/03 horndog i paid to see Halle's tits.didnt see halle's tits.horndog pissed..and the movie sucked,too 1 stars
11/22/03 benice bad 1 stars
11/22/03 malcolm halle berry nekkit + a couple of good scares, i'll take it 3 stars
11/22/03 Brian i've never seen a movie just end out of the blue... 3 stars
11/22/03 Cameron Slick A formulaic, mediocre movie with some good acting and atmosphere and a couple cheap scares. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Nov-2003 (R)
  DVD: 12-Oct-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  29-Apr-2004




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