Friday, August 28, 2009

Gothika (2003)


It is no secret that we at Tower Farm have a certain love for the women of sleazy movies. Certainly, Linda Blair, Karen Black, Piper Laurie and Sybil Danning have all secured their spots in our Hall of Fame (still under construction). But, there is only one working actress today that is carrying the torch.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Halle Berry.

I know what you are thinking, Halle Berry is a serious actress! Well, you can’t see me, but I just rolled my eyes at you. Linda Blair, Piper Laurie and Karen Black were all once considered serious actresses, too (sorry, Sybil Danning). Well, just look at what happened to their careers. I mean Karen Black was nominated for an Oscar for the movie Five Easy Pieces and, years later, she would be portraying a circus performer making money in a side show displaying her disfigured vagina (Firecracker). Hollywood can be a tough place.

So, I am aware that Halle Berry is an Oscar winner… I won’t hold that against her. She has also given us Catwoman, Perfect Stranger, Swordfish, The Flinstones, and B.A.P.S.. So, let’s not get too high and mighty about things. Okay?

Obviously, one of the best Halle Berry movies (at least from our perspective at Tower Farm) is Gothika. Released in 2003 by Dark Castle Entertainment, this was meant to be a dark and eerie picture, along the lines of What Lies Beneath. Unfortunately, Dark Castle has yet to make a movie that even comes close to being atmospheric or scary. From House of Haunted Hill, to Thir13en Ghosts, to Ghost Ship, Dark Castle movies are always total messes.

But, as readers of this website, you already know that Billy and I are huge fans of messy movies… and not just the kind filmed in Germany that arrive in black unmarked packages.

Gothika follows the journey of Miranda Grey, a brilliant psychiatrist working in an asylum that seems to have been modeled off of Dracula’s castle. Seriously, the outside of the place looks like something from a Hammer movie and the inside, even when fully lit, is all blue lights and heavy shadows. Like a Twilight poster.

Anyway, after giving treatment to a wonderfully hammy Penelope Cruz, she goes to her boss/ husband for advice. In a remarkably strange pairing, we find out the Miranda Grey, played by Halle Berry, is supposed to be married to Charles S. Dutton. I don’t remember what his character’s name is, but he will always be Roc to me. After giving some half-assed advice involving throwing a glass of water at a mirror, Roc kisses Halle Berry. Although “kiss” is not a strong enough word. He basically swallows her jaw.

Surprisingly, this is not the worst person Berry kisses on this DVD. But, more on this later.

The happy couple is interrupted by Robert Downey Jr. as Pete Graham, a colleague. Downey overacts as only he can. Frankly, when Downey first enters the film, I was a little annoyed to find him playing Graham as a very stereotypical gay best friend. It was a surprise, then, to find out that Graham is interested in Miranda Grey. I wonder why Miranda Grey never picked up on his love interest…

Anyhow, in no time Miranda Grey is involved in an accident and awakens to find herself in the asylum where she was previously a doctor. Of course, Graham is treating her and she quickly finds out that she is locked up for hacking her husband to pieces. Probably because of years of those kisses. I am just guessing.

Anyway, after a number of telegraphed scares, we come to find out that Grey is possessed by a pretty friggin’ useless ghost.

Okay, so the ghost possesses Grey, has her cut up her husband, then leaves the big clue “Not Alone”. Christ almighty. That is just shitty. Everyone in the movie, including Grey, figures Grey lost her mind. All the ghost had to do was write the words “Your husband murdered me” and this whole ordeal might have been much more easily resolved… “Not Alone”… what a jerk.

At any rate, not to give anything away, but it all turns out that this ghost is trying to tell Dr. Grey an urgent message about someone very close to her. If you don’t want the ending spoiled for you, skip the previous paragraph.

Oh yeah… and that other Halle Berry kiss. Well, it comes courtesy of an extra on the DVD. The DVD comes with a music video for the Limp Bizkit remake “Behind Blue Eyes”. And, yes, Halle Berry makes out with Fred Dirst.

I really hope for Charles Dutton’s sake that video was filmed after the movie.

On a final note, what does the title Gothika refer to? Nothing. It is just a creepy sounding title that has no relevance to the movie, whatsoever.

That kind of laziness is inspired.

So, Halle Berry gives us further reason to honor her at our Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, she will just have to wait until our Sharon Stone wax figure, also called a “Farmy”, is complete.

Three fingers.


  1. "If you don't want the ending spoiled for you, skip the previous paragraph."

    Sheer genius, my good man!


  2. hehehehe, yeah, this movie deserves to be spoiled. What a dull shit-heap with no purpose. 'Three fingers' is maybe too generous, but hey, there's no accounting for taste, is there?

  3. Thank you Js. I am glad you both like the "spoiler" part. I was afraid no one would get the joke and everyone would just think I'm an idiot. I am glad the first part of that, at least, has been averted.

    I agree (obviously) that this movie "deserves to be spoiled". It is incredibly bad. And pretty good, too.


  4. I liked the other Dark Castle movies, but this one was kind of lame...had its moments though, I think.

  5. Fuck I thought G.O.T.H.I.K.A. was an acronym all these years for Goddamn Our Tools in Hollywood Is Kinda Assholes.. .. . .. sorry.. sorry.. thats the best I could come up with this round. Its 7AM, what could you really expect out of me =D

    Hit all the right points my boys, lame lame lame..

  6. Thank god for this review - I thought I was the only one who felt this way about Gothika, as well as all of the other Dark Castle films.

  7. I'm due for a re-watching of this one, I haven't seen it since it first came out.
    check out my horror movie blog for the latest horror news and the occasional creepy treasure!
    thanks! :)

  8. OMG! No one writes reviews as entertaining as you guys do!

  9. JM,

    Another great review for a...not-so-great film. I hardly remember this movie at all; it's almost as if I haven't seen it because it was so generic, uninteresting, and tame.

    I loved the spoiler joke too!!!

  10. Two things, one of which is even slightly relevant to this post -

    I just got back from the theater, and speaking of Dark Castle, they have the new snowy-peril horror flick WHITEOUT. Trailer looks pretty decent! I love snowy horror.

    Also, said trailer was in front of HALLOWEEN II , which I am currently reviewing and have, in fact, ever-so-briefly *name-dropped* you fellas in. Check the shout-out, and hope ya don't mind. :)

  11. As far as Dark Castle is concerned, I thought Haunted Hill was pretty good, and then each new one got worse and worse and worse until House of Wax, which was good fun again. Unless House of Wax wasn't Dark Castle. I'm not as young as I was and I get confused sometimes. I think it was, wasn't it? But anyway, this was by far the worst of the bunch, I thought. I really hated it; didn't have any fun with it at all. You are being extraordinarily generous here (which is a nice thing to be, of course, don't get me wrong).

  12. I thought this movie was going to be horrible just from the title,but i ended up thinking it was all in all an okay flick.Just too bad Halle Berry moved on to play Catwoman,now that was a tragedy.

  13. I totally agree. I really enjoyed this movie and I thought Halle Berry was like the coolest in it. I give her and Peneople Cruz credit. The end scene always gives me the creeps.

    I like your blog. Very indepth reviews!!