If only screenwriter Sebastian Gutierrez had put as much effort into story logic and credible characters as director Mathieu Kassovitz puts into generating seat-grabbing goosebumps in "Gothika," the wannabe-cerebral supernatural horror thriller might have had more going for it than just a few good shudders and jumps.

The first above-the-title starring vehicle for 2002 Oscar winner Halle Berry -- playing a criminal psychologist who blacks out after a car accident and wakes up in her own prison asylum, accused of axe-murdering her husband -- the film begins with a strike against it for its laughable attempts at evocative dialogue in the opening-scene rantings of a wild-eyed inmate (Penelope Cruz).

"He opened me like a flower of pain...and it felt goooood," the pretty Spaniard flares, all dowdied-down in Serious Actress Mode. "(Then) I cut his Adam's apple in half like a soft fruit on a summer day."

Continue reading: Gothika Review