Halle Berry began her post-Oscar slump with this overwrought, overproduced and decidedly underwritten horror flick about a criminal psychologist who, irony of ironies, finds herself locked up as a patient in the loony bin following a car accident; she’s accused of murdering her husband, but that’s merely a trifle compared to the creepy ghost that keeps possessing her and making her do cryptic stuff like carving “Not Alone” on her damn arm. Robert Downey, Jr. (kind of looking like he’s wondering what he’s doing there) plays Berry’s former colleague now called upon to be her doctor and Penelope Cruz mugs and bugs her eyes out a lot as Berry’s former patient turned, well, colleague in craziness. Gothika is silly, derivative and not scary in the least, though Berry at least looks amazing (as usual) — and, if nothing else, it’s nowhere near as bad as her next film, the disastrous, wretched Catwoman. This was Dark Castle Entertainment’s first foray into producing an “original” screenplay after scoring big with two back-to-back remakes (House on Haunted Hill and Thir13en Ghosts) — this is one of the few times where you’ll wish a studio had gone with another return to an existing well rather than trying to do something “new.”
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