Sunday, September 22, 2013

Movie #214: Gothika

Gothika is a ghost story from Dark Castle films, the same geniuses that gave us Ghost Ship and the remakes of House on Haunted Hill, House of Wax, and Th13teen Ghosts. It starts Halle Berry, Robert Downey, Jr., Charles Dutton, Penelope Cruz, and John Carroll Lynch.

Dr. Miranda Grey (Berry) is a psychiatrist at a mental hospital. One night, she works with a delusional patient (Cruz), smooches her boss/husband (Dutton), talks with her love-smitten co-worker (Downey Jr.) and heads home. But she runs across a woman in the middle of the road (Kathleen Mackey), and sees her burst into flames...and the next thing she knows, she wakes up in the hospital as a patient. She killed her husband with an ax, and has no memory of it.

As the movie progresses, Grey is continually haunted by the girl, and by the words "NOT ALONE." Eventually, she escapes, and figures it out - her husband and the sheriff (Lynch) were serial rapists and killers, and had been using girls in the hospital for their predations. They killed the girl on the road, and her ghost possessed Berry to kill her husband.

The end, of course, features a battle between the sheriff and Grey, and there's gunplay and a spectral visitation. At the end of it all, Grey is free, her patient Chloe is out and putting herself together...but Grey can apparently see ghosts now.

It's actually a better movie than I remembered. It's not high art, of course, and it's less fun than the other Dark Castle films, but the plot holds together, there are a couple of decent scares and creep moments, and it's always nice to see a movie starring a woman and a POC who gets through it alive.

My grade: C
Rewatch value: A lot more than I thought, which is to say, low.

Next up: Grandma's Boy