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Gothika is a 2003 American supernatural thriller directed by Mathieu Kassovitz and written by Sebastian Gutierrez. Halle Berry plays Dr. Miranda Grey, a psychiatrist in a women's mental hospital who wakes up one day to find herself on the other side of the bars, accused of having murdered her husband and boss Doug. To make matters worse, she is also being tormented by visions of a mutilated young woman. Notable for a strong but under-used supporting cast, including Robert Downey, Jr., Penelope Cruz, Charles S. Dutton and Bernard Hill.
Gothika was released on November 21, 2003 in North America and Canada, grossing $19,288,438 in the opening weekend and ranking at #2. It went on to gross $59.6 million in the domestic market and $81.8 from foreign markets for a worldwide total of $141.5 million. In comparison with the film's $40m budget, the film was a financial success despite taking something of a beating from the critics.
This film series provides examples of the following tropes:
- Ax Crazy: Miranda temporarily becomes so when posessed by a vengeful ghost.
- Beware of Hitch-Hiking Ghosts: One of the earlier encounters with the ghost fits this trope.
- Breakaway Pop Hit: Limp Bizkit recorded a cover of "Behind Blue Eyes" for the movie. It has become more well-known than the film.
- Cuckoo Nest
- Fridge Logic: If a psychiatrist suffered a mental breakdown and had to be committed, she'd hardly be committed to the same hospital she worked in. Particularly when it's a hospital for the criminally insane, with inmates/patients who no doubt harbour grudges against her.
- When Miranda wakes up in a cell after her murderous blackout, Pete (Robert Downey, Jr.'s character) tells her that he pulled some strings to have her placed under his supervision. Otherwise, she would have ended up in another institution.
- "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: It turns out that Miranda in fact did murder her husband, but was possessed by the ghost when she did. The ghost wanted revenge as Doug had over the years abducted, raped and killed several young women from the area. Miranda manages to prove her husband's guilt and is subsequently set free — despite, as far as any rational person can see, being responsible for completely butchering him.
- Chloe (Penelope Cruz's character) also gets released form the mental hospital at the end, though being on friendly terms with one or possibly two of the doctors certainly helped.
- Ghostly Goals: The ghost wants revenge...and justice for her rape and murder. So she killed Doug, using his wife's body, then led Miranda to find out about Doug's atrocities, saving another girl, and revealing her circumstances to her family. Then she killed the doctor's accomplice.
- Girls Behind Bars: Notably averted. Even the Shower Scene is made realistic and unsexy by displaying old and unattractive inmates besides nicer-looking ones.
- A God Am I: A particularly creepy example shows up when Miranda discovers the torture dungeon that Doug used to rape and kill his female victims in. As she watches one of the videotapes that he shot in which he just finished molesting another woman, he walks up to the camera, adjusts his tie and states "It's good to be God. I love you." Near the end, Sheriff Ryan (Doug's friend and accomplice in his rape/molestation/murder of young women) reveals that they shared the sentiment, saying "We were their God."
- Haunted Heroine
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Miranda is Storm, her husband/boss is Roc, her co-worker is Iron Man, and the sheriff is Drew Carey's older brother.
- I See Dead People
- Red Herring: One film critic joked that Robert Downey, Jr.'s character should have just been named Red Herring; it was so obvious that's what he was.
- Romance on the Set: Robert Downey, Jr. met his current wife, Susan Levin (one of the film's producers), while making this movie.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Specifically, big fat 50-something guy, Halle Berry wife.
- Word Puree Title: The "word" Gothika has no relevance to the film in any way, other than a ghost story set in a spooky hospital being vaguely gothic.
- Written in Infirmity: Halle Berry broke her arm during filming; an injury was duly written in to explain away her plaster cast.
- You Have to Believe Me: Miranda gets her arm slashed with the words "not alone" while in the group shower. She was out of sight for only a few seconds, yet the wounds are many and quite precise. There's also no weapon to be found anywhere. Instead of pointing out these facts and letting her keepers arrive at a conclusion (something's very much not right here), she starts ranting...