What if everything you thought you knew was wrong? What if a cornerstone of your existence was a lie? These are the questions that Gothika presents, especially to those members of the Academy who believed that Halle Berry is a good actress. I suppose that these are also thematic questions because the story is about a psychiatrist who is possessed by a ghost and (this is the big twist at the end) learns that her husband is a serial killer.

Maybe the psychiatrist is supposed to be really dumb, or maybe she has got through med school and landed a job because of affirmative action, or because she’s cute and has a great rack. In that case Halle Berry’s performance is excellent. This interpretation is consistent not only with the Berry’s performance, but with the script. Here’s one example. Berry learns that when her late husband used to “go fishing at the creek,” he was actually torturing women to death in the dungeon under his fishing shack. The ghost and her own analysis of the case tell her that her husband was working with a partner, meaning that a second killer is still on the loose. To whom does Berry confide this information? To her husband’s best friend and fishing buddy!

These stupid moments were amusing, so I probably would have derived less enjoyment from this film if it was a more skillful hack job. I also had fun imagining the screenwriter toiling over the microwave dialog.

“They can take my body but they can’t take my… What? Hmmm. Mind? No, that’s a cliché. Wait… Wait…. It’s coming… mind! Drat, again. No, no, soul! They can take my body, but they can’t take my soul! I’m brilliant! I think that’s even in iambic pentameter!”

He’ll probably win an Oscar, too.

I don’t have a lot else to say. This is just another one of those movies that’s supposed to be scary because it recycles the special effects from Ozzy’s video for “Crazy Babies.” Sort of like The Ring, but not as good.

Special Ruthless Ratings:

  • Film Overall: 4
  • Number of beers needed to make it a 10: 8
  • Number of times the movie was paused to do something else: 0
  • Number of times something else was done without pausing the movie: 4
  • Number of times Halle Berry’s character was naked: 3
  • Number of times you saw any of her evil parts: 0
  • Number of times you saw any of the parts next to her evil parts: 0
  • Dollars of box office lost because of the lack of skin: $18 million