Gothika is a film about a person who is experiencing supernatural elements within the world of psychiatry. Anything narrated by someone who’s experienced something that’s unusual within the physical world is declared insane. The presence of wraith in the living world is still a question of debate between those who experienced it and others who don’t believe in them.
Chloe (Penelope Cruz), a psychiatric patient narrates a disturbing account on how a man sexually assaulted her to the brilliant psychiatrist Dr. Miranda Grey (Halle Berry). Chloe’s ongoing treatment for paranoid delusions is a huge limitation for Dr. Grey to understand the facts in her anecdote. Chloe then has a breakdown and she’s taken away. Miranda walks away from to her office with a sequence where the camera follows her. She is a well-respected doctor who is trained not to think beyond what her brain says, therefore she ignores Chloe’s screams of agony. Miranda’s day was going well. She embraced her husband Doug’s (Charles S Dutton) warmth, had a friendly moment with her co-worker Dr. Pete (Robert Downey Jr) and swam 55 laps in the penitentiary’s pool. While going back home, she encounters a girl who’s apparently raped and brutalized. Then an occurrence follows and Miranda wakes up as a patient in the very penitentiary she works in. Above all, she understands that she should have listened to her patients (especially Chloe) instead of just hearing them. The rest of the plot is about her struggle to get out of the mess created by the wraith that’s been haunting her.
It is brilliantly scripted and artistically executed movie with medium pacing and blue coloured tone. We are involved with whatever’s happening from Miranda’s feelings and observations. The cast is stupendous with Halle Berry leading. She is punchy with her expressive eyes and her frightened performance is appreciable. Miranda was a dedicated personnel who loved her job, then she is amongst the patients followed by their fun making whispers. She’s in a situation with no one but herself to trust her judgment. Robert Downey Jr plays a shadowed yet sublime character. We don’t know if he is actually on Miranda’s side ever since his feelings for Miranda is revealed. The only flaw I found in the movie is his lack of further involvement as so many expectations were there based on the building of the suspense. Both Charles S Dutton and John Caroll Lynch stayed true to their respective character’s behavioural traits. Biggest attraction of any horror flick, other than the anticipations and scary situations, is the music. John Ottman composed haunting melodies that’s dissolved in the scene and Gothika’s score can be taken for reference in horror/thriller music composition. The execution of the film is such that we are captured into Miranda’s world of intensity and suspense with a twist at the end, related to the phrase “Not Alone”.
The base of this film is Violence against women and rape & revenge encompassed in a suspense thriller. Thankfully there’s no graphic rape scene but the intensity of the crime is understood as per the given visuals. Gothika is a soulful and gruesome horror experience that has a lot less to do with violence & gory sequences.