Gothika: a Confused Reviewer Responds

I had high hopes for this film and wanted to see it for years. I love psychological thrillers and, with the impeccable cast, I figured it would be a can't miss thrill ride of chills and thrills.

But, did it live up to my own self imposed hype? Read on to find out...



Gothika, 2003
Gothika, 2003

First the Good:

Great cast. The film stars Halle Berry, Penelope Cruz and Robert Downey Jr. The film is well acted. The direction of Mathieu Kassovitz, who also masterfully told the tragic story in Munich does enough to keep the viewer intersted in the film. Good selection of camera shots, decent editing.



Now the Bad:

A very convoluted plot. The film starts out as a psychological thriller and turns into your basic catch me if you can flick. The basic premise is intersting but way over done (think Shutter Island a half a decade before Shutter Island and with horrible screenwriting. How Sebastian Guttierez of Snakes on a Plane fame continues to get work is beyond me.) and the film relies too much on special effects and cheap scare tactics. The dialogue is trite, cliche, unrealistic, ineffectual, yadda yadda yadda. Even the brilliant talents of Halle Berry and RDJ couldn't keep this dialogue from falling flat on it's face.

The Gist

Like most critics, professional and amateur alike, the film simply isn't very good. That's not to say, however, that it's not entertaining. if you're looking for a film that will entertain you and maybe scare you a little (and I mean a little) then it's worth watching. The film suffers from poor screen writing, but it's very watchable behind Kassovitz's direction and the star power of Berry, RDJ and Cruz. The scares are cheap and the film tries too hard to get in your head. The special affects are overdone but at times effective.

Still, if a movies' purpose is to entertain, then the movie succeeds. I was entertained and don't regret taking an hour and a half out of my life to watch this film. Unlike other Pysho thrillers, including Shutter Island, this film is instantly forgettable and does not warrant repeat viewings, though i do reccommend seeing it if psych thriller/ghost stories are your thing. Prepare to be confused and a little aggravated, but also prepare to enjoy yourself.


5.5 stars/10

Thanks for Reading.

A FREELANCE WRITER, HONORS STUDENT AND GOVER PRIZE FINALIST, JUSTIN W. PRICE (AKA, PDXKARAOKEGUY)IS A POET, SHORT STORY, BIOGRAPHY AND HUMOR WRITER. HIS POETRY COLLECTION, DIGGING TO CHINA, WAS RELEASED FEBRUARY 2ND, 2013 BY SWEATSHOPPE PUBLICATIONS AND IS AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, BARNES AND NOBLE AND THROUGH YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER.

HIS WORK WILL ALSO BE FEATURED IN BEST NEW Writing (2014 EDITION), AND HAS APPEARED PREVIOUSLY IN THE RUSTY NAIL, EFICTION, THE CRISIS CHRONICLES, THE HELLROARING REVIEW, BURNINGWORD, THE WHISTLING FIRE, SEE SPOT RUN ANDTHE BELLWETHER REVIEW.

HE WORKS AS A FREELANCE WRITER, EDITOR, AND GHOST WRITER, AND IS WORKING TOWARDS HIS PH.D. HE LIVES IN A SUBURB OF PORTLAND, OREGON WITH HIS WIFE, ANDREA, THEIR LABRADOODLE, BELLA, SCHNOODLE, SAUVEE AND BLACK MOOR GOLDFISH, HOWARD WOLOWITZ.

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Comments 9 comments

PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

It had so much potential and a decent cast... but one of the worst screenwriters in history


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

I think I hate blocked this movie out of my memory. This was pretty bad and I am a big horror movie fan. Interesting hub and voted up!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Nikki, I agree that the film was entertaining and well directed, but I did find the plot and especially the writing to be very convoluted. I love horror movies too. Thanks for stopping by!


Nikkij504gurl profile image

Nikkij504gurl 5 years ago from Louisiana

I loved Gothika. I thought it a very good movie. and arent most movies like this meant to be entertaining or for scares? It wasnt just a pychological thriller because the ghosts she saw was real and were leading her to the truth about her husband. I found the story, the screenplay and the writing to be very good. Ive watching it more than once, i havent watched in a while but i remember most of it pretty well and i love movies of the horror genre and such so i am a bit biased but i will tell you if a movie just flat out sucks and this is not one of them. a movie can still be good even if some parts arent as good as they could have been. and everyone has their own opinions of course.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Sub and War, thanks for reading. I'm glad you found my review helpful. Sub, the new shows this season aren't that great, but, the New Girl starring Zooey DeSchanel is quite charming.


SubRon7 profile image

SubRon7 5 years ago from eastern North Dakota

Well, PDXKaraokeGuy, watching the trailor I got hit with a case of chills and goosepimples four times, but I do agree with what you said. Some movies and TV shows appear to be made just to fill space, and I guess that's necessary. I've watched ABC's "Once Upon A Time" only once and I applaud it, but it's the only new offering I've watched this year, and will stick only with my old favorites.

Thanks for the follow.


Wrath Warbone profile image

Wrath Warbone 5 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

I guess I'll skip that flick. Thanks for the warning.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks for reading Feenix. This film was interesting review because the film, artistcially is not that great, but yet it's entertaining. I did more indepth anaylsis of the film "the birds" if you wanna take some time to check it out. Thanks so much for stopping by and for taking the time to comment


feenix profile image

feenix 5 years ago

Hello, PDXKaraokeGuy,

Thank you for writing and publishing this useful and interesting hub. The manner in which you present your critique of the film is very informative and professional.

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