Review: “Gothika”

This psychological horror movie is admittedly the best product yet to come out of the Dark Castle film production label. However, when you previous credits include “Ghost Ship”, “House on Haunted Hill” and “Thirteen Ghosts” – that’s not a hard level to reach. The result is a passable ‘haunted woman in prison’ movie with Halle Berry getting gritty and trying to sort out her insanity which revolves around some fellow people within the jail she works/is trapped in being responsible for some young girl’s death.

The premise of sorting out one’s insanity is always a fascinating one and while this does follow cliche at times, its still an interesting idea at its core – especially in the early half of the movie before the visual effects elements become too much. Berry delivers a solid performance, certainly no career highlight but a better than expected turn and more interesting than some of the other cast like a surprisingly bland Robert Downey Jr. Penelope Cruz has a fun smaller role as a somewhat insane patient who may be getting attacked by ‘the devil’ as she has been claiming.

Director Mathieu Kassovitz is also responsible for the moody but bland French serial killer thriller “The Crimson Rivers” and brings his strong sense of imagery and style which help this look great. The scares and effects are fine and not as overly gory as previous films from the company. Horror fans may find it a little limp or pointless, regular audiences will spot the script holes which are as wide and numerous as pores on Laurence Fishburne’s face, and the whole revelation is cutely revealed but rather unbelievable. Its a flash looking piece, but ultimately lacking in any substance – for a while there though it does manage to suck you in effectively.