Gothika

Movie Review by Reece De Ville

Starring: Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr, Penelope Cruz, Charles S Dutton
Director: Mathieu Kassovitz

You know, there was a time when you could throw a dime up in the air and it would land shiny face up on a ‘main star sees dead people’ script. From THE SIXTH SENSE to DRAGONFLY, the recycling of the increasingly tired paranormal formula has been all to frequent. So, into the fray, we have GOTHIKA….

They say the feeling of deja vu can be linked in with past experiences. They also say that familiarity breeds contempt. Well, with GOTHIKA, I certainly felt a mixture of deja vu and contempt. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, wore the t-shirt, threw it away when it got too small, moved on to something else.

As a premise, the story of GOTHIKA is a well worn tread through the ‘am I losing my mind’ canon of psychological thrillers. Dr Miranda Grey (Berry) finds herself on the other side of the loony fence when she’s accused of a murder she knows she didn’t commit (hang on, isn’t this the A-Team?), with former colleague Dr Graham (Downey Jr) appearing to assist her, is she sure of who she can trust? Frankly, I didn’t care. But hey, there’s a dead girl trying to reach her to tell her something! Yawn…. sorry, drifted off there, you were saying?

From start to finish, GOTHIKA ticks all the cliche boxes on it’s way to its risible premise. All that seemed to be missing was a dose of ‘Paint It Black’ over the closing credits to confirm the “hey, aren’t we clever with the ‘she sees dead people'” motif -rammed down your throat for 90 odd minutes, with its script seemingly cobbled together on the fly. It’s not that Berry and Downey Jnr don’t try to make this convincing, but they’re saddled with such one-dimensional characters that there’s no room for their relationship to develop beyond the ‘can he be trusted?’ scenario, lovingly flung around the screen with gay abandon. Perhaps the moment that sums GOTHIKA up is a scene where a possible suspect is being discussed, and the telegraphing of that suspect is obvious for nigh on TWO minutes until the inevitable ‘It’s me!! Muuuhaaahahhahahaah!!!’ moment – aaarggh!!!!

If I can do only one thing this lifetime, I urge you not to see GOTHIKA. Don’t spend your money on a ticket, don’t even consider a free ticket. Like the advert says, ‘you’ll be helping to fund criminal activity’.

2 out of 6 stars

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