Throughout Gothika, the message “NOT ALONE” is referenced. We first see it cut into Miranda’s (Halle Berry) forearm. In the same scene, crime scene photos show that Miranda had painted “NOT ALONE” on the wall with her husband Doug’s blood. Miranda finds meaning in this phrase three times: that she was not alone when killing Doug, that Rachel was alone in being a victim, and that Doug wasn’t alone in the killings of those girls. But, there might be a fourth meaning: Doug and the Sheriff were not alone in knowing about what was happening. With two powerful men committing these crimes, one being a well-known and trusted psychologist and the other being the town sheriff, they could probably cover a majority of it up. However, there are a few hints that the two of them are somehow being enabled.
When Miranda goes to check on Chloe after escaping from her cell, she sees a man in her cell. Because we are also seeing the ghost of Rachel, her boss’s daughter who was killed by Doug and the Sheriff, we’re not sure if the man is living or a ghost. At the beginning of the movie, Miranda tells Doug that Chloe is “embellishing a rape story” and Doug dismisses it, so Miranda doesn’t press further. When we find out that it was the sheriff in Chloe’s cell, we realize that it was a real person raping her in her cell. Chloe wasn’t embellishing anything, and Doug knew it. So who was letting the Sheriff into Chloe’s cell? At first it was probably Doug, but Miranda sees the Sheriff in her cell after killing Doug, which means someone who works at the detention center had to have let him into her cell. The Sheriff could have had keys, but he would still need to get access into the solitary wing and into her cell specifically without being seen by anyone, but this is less likely than someone just letting him in. Police officers don’t usually visit inmates, let alone go inside their cell.
Doug made a risky move by choosing his boss’s daughter, Rachel, as one of his victims. The fact that he was able to cover it up so well as to fully convince his boss and their family that it was suicide for years seems impossible. Now, the sheriff was in on it and able to hide a lot of the evidence; however, they lived in a small town where everyone seemed to know each other. To pull this off and have not a single eye witness for this or any of the abductions would need more compliance than just these two powerful men.
The last clue that the killings may have been a secret held by many is the fact that the security guard covered for Miranda. Yes, they seemed to have a nice relationship when Miranda was working at the detention center, but in that moment, there seemed to be more. As the security guard, his job would have required him to alert the other guards that Miranda was at his desk. However, he gave Miranda a knowing look and even told her to take his car to make her getaway. He probably wasn’t in on it, but something must have told him that she was innocent and didn’t belong locked up there.
In the end, Miranda and Chloe were let free with no true explanation, but it can be assumed that the law enforcement recognized that they were fighting evil within their community by killing Doug and the Sheriff. The question is, were they alone?