Gothika starts out with tremendous promise. The story appears that it will be more original and rewarding than most horror/thrillers. Halle Berry certainly rises above the usual B-list acting. Even Downey, Jr. seems suspiciously at home in the film’s prison setting. The trouble begins for the audience shortly after it does for Berry. Soon the film begins to get predictable and ordinary. Only the terrific cinematography and convincing atmosphere save the film from sinking to the depths of the many who have gone before…
”A brilliant and respected criminal psychologist, Dr. Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) is an expert at knowing what is rational. Under the direction of her husband (Charles S. Dutton), Miranda treats dangerously disturbed patients at the Woodward Penitentiary for Women. But Miranda’s life is thrust into terrifying jeopardy after a cryptic encounter with a mysterious young girl leads to a nightmare beyond her wildest imagination.” – Warner Bros.
An above average Dolby Digital 5.1 track will be found here. While not aggressive, the surrounds create a great deal of ambiance. Rain is quite convincing as are the mystical “things that go bump in the night”. Dialogue is usually clear and center except for the opening scene. The two actresses seem to be whispering and I had to crank it to catch what they were saying.
There is a commentary track featuring director Mathieu Kassovitz, and Matthew Libatique. This track is not a real standout… it plays more like having a couple more people in the room.
Gothika is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The transfer is nearly flawless. I saw zero signs of film artifacts or digital compression problems. The blue filters used to film most of this movie are reproduced with very effective results. Darks are very deep and clean. I was impressed with the overall sharpness and detail apparent in every frame of this transfer. It might be easy to mistake some of the stylized image processing for flaws but I assure you this disc looks exactly as it was intended to look.
The extras are where this release falls flat. A music video of Limp Bizkit doing “The Who’s Behind Blue Eyes” is the only extra of note. There is a trailer and little else.
There are some scary moments in Gothika and it will certainly hold your interest. There are obvious influences from The Ring, particularly as the climax begins to unravel. The twists are quite imaginative, but the film tips its hand a bit too early. Mostly if you think you’ve seen most of this before, you’re “not alone”.
Special Features List
- Limp Bizkit music video