In this suspense/horror thriller, Dr. Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) is a brilliant and respected criminal psychologist. She is an expert in knowing what is rational, what is logical and what is sane. Under the direction of her husband (Charles Dutton), who is the chief administrator of the psychiatric ward at the Woodward Penitentiary for Women, Miranda treats dangerously disturbed patients like Chloe (Penelope Cruz) who claims she is being raped by the devil. Miranda’s comfortable marriage and stable life are thrust into terrifying jeopardy after her cryptic encounter with this mysterious young girl leads to a nightmare beyond her wildest imagination. When Miranda awakens from the horrific incident, she is shocked to discover that her husband has been murdered and that the bloody evidence points directly to her. She begins to lose the respect of coworkers like Dr. Pete Graham (Robert Downey Jr.).
This disturbing film is filled with gruesome — many implied — images of murder, dismemberment and ghost-like creatures. Those who appear to be insane are presented, not as being insane, but rather as simply having a different experience than others. Gothika’s treatment of the paranormal, nudity, violence and bad language clearly eliminates it from receiving the Dove Seal..