Gothika (2003)

(On DVD, August 2004) Hey, that wasn’t terrible. Oh, it’s no great art: crazy people, an insane asylum, a murder or two, possession by vengeful ghosts, yadda-yadda. The best thing about this film is Mathieu Kassovitz’s direction, trashy in a B-genre fashion with enough CGI stuff to keep things interesting. Otherwise, well, it moves relatively quickly and seldom wastes any time in setting up its scares. As long as you enjoy Halle Berry in a shower; what else do you need? Well, a plot maybe, and one that doesn’t solely bring back memories of What Lies Beneath. But then again it’s “just” a horror movie, and a decidedly non-scary one at that despite the desperate spring-loaded cats at regular intervals. The audio commentary on the DVD shows both director and cinematographer struggling to make this something more significant than an average horror film, only to hear Kassovitz cave in at the end and ruefully recognize that this is, after all, just a silly genre film. (Oh, don’t get me started on the last scene…) Still, not bad. Could have been worse.

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