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Gothika (2003)

Gothika. Feature film. (2003, 98 mins) IMDB

...do you believe in ghosts...

Y

ou know ghosts don't exist. They simply don't, but these filmmakers want you to believe they do. Ugh. I suppose if I were ten, I might have gotten into this type of film, but I'm not anywhere near that age.

The film started out with promise. Halle Berry plays a respected shrink in a hospital for the criminally insane. When Penelope Cruz, one of her patients, speaks of the devil living inside her, we and Berry know Cruz is nuts and why wouldn't we think that. There are no ghosts and there is no devil.

Flash forward through a series of events where Berry finds her self on the other side of the table. He husband was viciously murdered and Berry is the prime suspect. She has no memory of the events and doesn't believe she did it. She's also haunted by ghosts and spirits in the way Cruz is haunted and when she explains this to Downey, playing a fellow shrink, she appears as crazy as Cruz appeared, but in this instance, we know she's not nuts. We saw the ghosts on screen just as Berry had seen them.

That's the dilemma our hero faces.

Did she kill her husband? I'm not sure, but if she did, she had a good reason. As the story progresses, she discovers her husband and the local sheriff kept sex slaves which they video-taped. The ghosts are these girls.

I suppose there had to be a reason for these girls appearing as ghosts and the filmmakers chose a rather gruesome scenario. It's often jarring to see a character come out of his shell to reveal a dark side. Dutton, the husband, is lovey-dovey and sweet at the start of the film but later as information is revealed, we learn he's a depraved masochist. The same for the sheriff who appears completely psycho when he rips his shirt off to reveal a mess of tattoos on his body.

There were two cool shots. One we've seen before where Berry walks down a hallway, opens a door and enters a room. The camera follows through the wall from the hallway to the other room without cutting--at least I didn't see a cut.

The second shots show Berry swimming laps in a pool. The exposure was slowed down to make it speed up on regular playback as well the camera seem to ride through the water with her.

Posted 2009/04/12 at 18h08ET in Movie Commentary.

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