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Gothika is a 2003 supernatural thriller film directed by Mathieu Kassovitz and written by Sebastian Gutierrez. Halle Berry plays a psychiatrist in a women's mental hospital who wakes up one day to find herself on the other side of the bars for being accused of having murdered her husband.

The film was first released on November 21, 2003 in the United States. At the time of its release, Gothika was the most successful film from Dark Castle Entertainment with $141.6 million.


Psychiatrist Dr. Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) works at a mental hospital. While driving home, Miranda has a car accident after trying to avoid a girl on a road during a stormy night. She rushes to try to help the girl, but the girl turns out to be a ghost, and possesses Miranda's body. Miranda loses consciousness and wakes up in the very hospital she works for, but as a patient treated by her co-worker, Dr. Pete Graham (Robert Downey, Jr.). Drugged and confused, she remembers nothing of what happened after the car accident. To her horror, she learns that her husband Douglas (Charles S. Dutton) was brutally murdered and that she is the primary suspect. While Miranda copes with her new life in the hospital, the ghost uses her body to carry out messages (most noticeably, she carves the words "not alone" into Miranda's arm), which leads her former colleagues to believe Miranda is suicidal and is inflicting the wounds upon herself.

Miranda bonds with fellow inmate and her former patient Chloe Sava (Penélope Cruz). Several times in sessions, Chloe had claimed that she'd been raped while in the hospital, but Miranda had always attributed these stories to mental illness. One night, the door to Miranda's room in the hospital is opened by the ghost. When she passes Chloe's room, she can hear the rape occurring and momentarily sees a man's chest pressed against the window. The man's chest bears an Anima Sola tattoo. Miranda realizes that Chloe was not making up these stories, and apologizes to her, and the two embrace. Chloe then warns Miranda her attacker said he was going to target her next. Miranda begins to regain some of her memories bit by bit, and slowly comes to remember herself killing her husband. She realizes that the ghost had used her body to murder Douglas, thus making Miranda the patsy for his murder.

Miranda escapes the hospital, seeking clues to the mystery of why she killed her husband, and goes to a farmhouse in Willow Creek, Rhode Island. In the cellar of the barn, she discovers a room containing a bloodstained bed, what appears to be a box containing drugs, restraints and video equipment. She watches the videotape and hears a woman screaming as if being tortured or raped. In the final seconds of the video, Douglas walks into the shot, covers the woman's lifeless body with a sheet, and winks at the camera. At this point, police arrive. Miranda backs up to a staircase, and all of a sudden, an injured, screaming girl grabs hold of her from the adjoining crawlspace. The police release the girl, and Miranda is taken to jail.

In jail, Sheriff Ryan (John Carroll Lynch), Douglas' closest friend, talks to Miranda. He does not believe her claim that ghosts told her everything, and asks her what sort of person the accomplice would be. Miranda uses her experience as a psychiatrist to give a psychological profile, and as she does so, she realizes that Ryan fits the profile perfectly. Ryan attacks Miranda and in the fight, reveals his Anima Sola tattoo. Miranda kills the sheriff in self-defense, with the help of the ghost. At that moment, Dr. Pete knocks on the glass, out of breath, as if he came running, and says "I'm sorry" to Miranda.

Miranda is next seen walking with Chloe on a city sidewalk, discussing how each helped the other come to terms with their experiences. Miranda claims to be free of the ghost's influence and sends Chloe off in a taxi. She then sees a young boy standing in the middle of the road who appears as though he is about to be struck by a firetruck. Miranda yells for the boy to move, but after the firetruck passes right through the him, she realizes he was only a ghost. As she walks away, a poster with the words "Have you seen Tim?" and a picture of the same boy is shown taped to a pole.



The score's original music was composed by John Ottman. "Behind Blue Eyes" by Limp Bizkit was featured in the film but was not available on the soundtrack.

  1. "Prologue" (2:11)
  2. "Miranda's Theme" (1:47)
  3. "Remembering Rachael" (2:35)
  4. "Final Escape" (6:22)
  5. "Road Block / First Contact" (2:37)
  6. "An Affair?" (3:03)
  7. "First Escape" (4:20)
  8. "One of Us / The Shower" (4:01)
  9. "Willow Creek" (3:38)
  10. "Recollections" (3:17)
  11. "The House / Dream" (4:01)
  12. "I’m the Mirror / Not Alone" (2:24)
  13. "Revelation" (4:44)
  14. "You’re Next" (2:42)
  15. "I See Dead Kids" (1:50)


Box office

Gothika was released on November 21, 2003 in North America, grossing $19,288,438 in the opening weekend and ranking at #2, behind The Cat in the Hat. It went on to gross $59,694,580 in the domestic market and $81,896,744 from foreign markets for a worldwide total of $141,591,324. In comparison with the film's $40 million budget, the film was a financial success.

Critical reception

Critical reception was mostly negative; the review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 15% approval rating along with the general consensus that "Berry's acting talents can't save Gothika from its preposterous plot and bad dialogue." Jeremy Wheeler at All Movie Guide gave the film 2½ stars out of a possible five stating: "...this dud offers nothing new, nor anything close to horrifying for fright fans." The site Metacritic gives the film a score of 37 out of 100, indicating generally unfavorable reviews.

Gothika is well known for the relationship between Robert Downey, Jr. and producer Susan Levin, who met each other on set and went on to marry in August 2005.



2004 Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie Actress - Drama/Action Adventure - Halle Berry

2004 Black Reel Awards

2004 Kids Choice Awards

  • Best Favorite Actress

2004 Golden Trailer Award

  • Best Horror/Thriller

2004 Image Awards

2004 MTV Movie Awards

2004 Teen Choice Awards

  • Choice Movie – Thriller