Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 36
  2. Negative: 10 out of 36
  1. 75
    In trash as in art there is no accounting for taste, and reader, I cherished this movie in all of its lurid glory.
  2. Kassovitz directs with an unrelenting intensity that helps you to suspend disbelief almost all the way to the credits.
  3. For a while there, Mathieu Kassovitz's atmospherically charged direction sucks the viewer into the story's hellish vortex. That is until the film becomes possessed by an increasingly ludicrous beyond-the-grave element from which there is no rational return.
  4. May try to revive the eerie spirit of the Gothic novel, but, unless you're suffering from amnesia yourself, it probably won't surprise or thrill you.
  5. Great cast, great atmosphere, little sense or first-rate suspense.
  6. 50
    If you try hard enough, you might be able to forget that the story doesn't make a lot of sense or provide adequate thrills, although it tries to scare you a couple of times in the cheapest possible way.
  7. For those who want nothing more than a thorough scare, Gothika is effective. But for those of us who want some psychological insight with our frightfests, the film is sadly lacking.
  8. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    The movie gets a mild boost when her escape briefly takes it from just another crummy supernatural thriller into an OK escape melodrama, albeit one dependent on a whopper of an unlikely occurrence.
  9. 50
    A plot that insults, betrays, and cheats every member of the audience. Stupidity to a degree can sometimes be forgiven. Stupidity to this degree can not and should not.
  10. Reviewed by: Laine Ewen
    Gothika deserves credit for embracing the ghost story genre so whole-heartedly, but as any ten-year-old girl can tell you, there's nothing original here to see.
  11. There must be something about the thriller/horror genre that attracts writers with exactly the same dysfunctional tendencies: They're all great at the foreplay but keep on messing up the climax.
  12. Silly stuff, made all the more regrettable by the apparent skill with which the movie was made everywhere but in the screenplay department. The sheer lunkheadedness of Sebastian Gutierrez's script is impossible to ignore.
  13. Gothika was supposed to provide proof that she (Berry) could carry a film as a leading lady, but it doesn't. That's not entirely her fault, since nobody can fetch a drink of water in a sieve.
  14. Comes from the same jolly homage-to-schlock-shock producers who remade ''House on Haunted Hill,'' and the emphasis is shamelessly on ornate scares. But with its high-gloss cast and French art-house actor and director Mathieu Kassovitz (''Hate'') in charge, the movie also shoots for class.
  15. 50
    Kassovitz can't control the ridiculous script and messy tone. And though it's not exactly hard to watch Berry run around in a hospital robe (Cruz and Berry: That's one good-looking mental ward), it's not particularly profound.
  16. 50
    Given her (Halle Berry) biggest part since winning Oscar, she responds with a zeal that's more than the movie deserves.
  17. 40
    A gloomy-doomy ghost story that gets off to a creepy start and then spirals into flat-out preposterousness.
  18. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    Gothika never delivers anything more than the occasional, cynically engineered jolt and often drifts close to provoking giggles.
  19. A film that is long on atmosphere, but short on smarts: Plot points are easily unraveled 20 minutes in advance (no fun sleuthing for the audience here), the ending is an unsatisfying pastiche off too many horror tropes, and it would take a week to plug all of Gothika’s gaps in logic.
  20. 40
    More of a women's-prison movie than a supernatural thriller, and not a very good one at that.
  21. 40
    While stylistic excess keeps Gothika mildly diverting, though suspense-and horror-free, Kassovitz can't do anything to keep the film's ending from degenerating into camp.
  22. Reviewed by: David Ng
    Quickly abandoning the psychological for the supernatural, the movie collapses its premise into one painfully derivative pitch.
  23. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Hampered by thinly developed characters and pedestrian plotting.
  24. Ms. Berry works hard in her role, generating some excitement in the course of her distress. But the story's convolutions can't cover a deficit of substance, or sense.
  25. Dopey, violent horror thriller.
  26. French director Mathieu Kassovitz Frenches this flimsy tale to death. No scene goes underplayed, no performance (save one, from Robert Downey Jr.) lacks volume, no horror cliche is forgotten.
  27. 38
    For most of the movie, however, Halle sprints, Halle swims (55 laps!), and Halle screams. It's a two-hour fitness video -- a portrait of the Oscar winner as personal trainer.
  28. 30
    The best they were able to manage, apparently, was a grabbag of spectral sights and spooky touches grabbed from better horror films and a final act that raises more questions than it answers.
  29. How anyone in the cast manages to keep a straight face is one of the film's innumerable mysteries.
  30. Proves to be both too much and not enough: yet another slick, empty package of ersatz entertainment.
  31. They go about scaring you, but only in the most hackneyed and cheap-shock manner.
  32. 30
    An unsurprising, undistinguished piece of post-summer, pre-holiday detritus.
  33. 25
    Stupefyingly stupid thriller.
  34. 25
    The movie spins further and further into coincidence and incoherence.
  35. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    Tolerable for undiscriminating horror fans but should be shunned by everybody else.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 73 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 42
  2. Negative: 15 out of 42
  1. LearnFrenchWithGilbertMulroneycakes
    May 9, 2004
    Lots of dumb. Lots and lots and lots and lots of dumb. And on that level, lots and lots and lots and lots of fun as well. It's not very "good" in the classical sense, but you can't review a film in any terms but its own, and on the level it's shooting for - the juxtaposition of lots o'dumb and lots o'fun - it pretty much hits the target. Not the sort of thing that should have Halle Berry, Penelope Cruz and Downey in it, though. Not the kind of movie you'd pay the price of cinema tickets to see, either. One to rent (but not from Blockbuster), ideally on a dark and stormy night, in a darkened room with a truckload of popcorn and your girlboy next to you - because there's even a little bit of the Bruised Forearm factor going on here, and that's never a bad thing. Full Review »
  2. Nov 17, 2012
    If you are able to identify with Halle Berry's character and truly feel everything she feels, then this film plays on your emotions with an exhilaratingly force. If not, the film will seem scattershot and its mistakes will be all the more obvious. It all depends on perception. Full Review »
  3. Nov 9, 2012
    This a super intense and heavy film, with good actors and good playing.
    Of course there are some issues that are questionable, but overall
    the film is very good. Full Review »