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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.11%
Worth A Look: 19.75%
Average: 23.46%
Pretty Bad34.57%
Total Crap: 11.11%

7 reviews, 39 user ratings

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Skeleton Key, The
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by EricDSnider

"More creepy houses, more unexplained phenomena."
3 stars

Like most movies that come out these days, "The Skeleton Key" is about a young woman who moves into a creepy house where weird stuff happens. What sets it apart is that the source of the creepiness is NOT a wet dead girl who crawls out of bathtubs. I cannot tell you how relieved I was to discover this.

The source this time is something else, though of course I won't say what. But hoodoo is involved -- not voodoo, which is one thing, but hoodoo, which is corrupt variant of it. Set in an old, rotting estate on the bayous of Louisiana, the film focuses on Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson), a nursing student who is hired by a lawyer (Peter Sarsgaard) to help Violet Deveraux (Gena Rowlands) care for her dying husband Ben (John Hurt). Ben suffered a stroke and can no longer speak, but his faculties are still with him. With panicked eyes and weak gestures, he indicates to Caroline that Something Is Wrong.

Caroline knows this, though. She can tell by the fact that there are no mirrors anywhere in the old house, and that religious iconography fills the place to an alarming degree. Additionally, she was given a skeleton key that fits all the doors in the house -- except one, to a secret room at the far end of the attic. What's in that room? Why does Violet pretend not to know?

Directed by Iain Softley ("K-PAX") and written by high-rent hack Ehren Kruger ("Arlington Road," "Impostor," "The Ring" and its sequel), the movie lays out its clues quietly, carefully making us think we've guessed the answer -- and we're right, except there's another part of it that we wouldn't have guessed. You predict some of the surprises, but I'd wager there are a few you won't see coming.

The problem is that with only four main characters, the movie feels small. If there are humans involved in any of these mystical goings-on, the pool of suspects is disappointingly shallow, and it's not hard to work out most of the details. But seeing old indie pro Gena Rowlands wallow in a straightforward potboiler is fun, and if the movie doesn't exactly compliment your intelligence, at least it doesn't insult it, either.

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originally posted: 08/16/05 17:17:58
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User Comments

2/13/17 morris campbell good twist at the end otherwise nothing special 2 stars
6/08/12 elrondhubbard this was actually good. you morons that didnt like it probably own all harry potter 5 stars
9/06/09 Black Leather Rain Highly rated. This movie plays like a Call of Cthulhu adventure from beginning to end. 5 stars
1/08/09 Shaun Wallner Fell asleep to this one. 2 stars
6/26/08 Roz Predictable ending. Don't know why Hudson's character was so nosy in the first place! 2 stars
9/22/07 sinethemba great twist. it will keep you awake for days to come 4 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega I don't get it. 3 stars
1/12/07 David Pollastrini Kate Hudson is hot! 3 stars
9/30/06 Stanley Thai Nto only a good movie but possibly the best surprise ending I've ever seen. 3 stars
6/20/06 BoyInTheDesignerBubble this movie has more holes that the Albert Hall in London. 3 stars
5/08/06 Diane Perkins very good, unpredictable ending, really liked it, Gena Rowlands awesome as usual 5 stars
5/03/06 Ashley Hinz Closing credits are the best thing about this. I saw this house from the road 6 years ago. 4 stars
1/18/06 malcolm nothing especially good or bad. 4 stars
1/10/06 Indrid Cold Perfectly average hollywood horror. Kate is nice to look at though. 3 stars
12/11/05 JeromeBosch Lowtax; such verve and passion. Hope that you never GET AIDS. 2 stars
12/10/05 The Grinch Meh. Liked the somewhat obvious ending. Pretty mediocre though, Hudson is vapid. 3 stars
12/03/05 Jennifer S. A pretty good thriller. Nice twists and turns along the way. 4 stars
11/20/05 Monday Morning What unscary shite. 2 stars
11/17/05 Kyle Stylish, intelligent, and spooky. 5 stars
10/24/05 Lowtax I fucked Jesus in the ass. He loved it. The filthy sodomite will burn in hell with me 4 stars
10/23/05 Shalom Cadaverim Good point, LTIH -- at last a paradigm for salvation for all in Judeo-Christian tradition. 5 stars
10/21/05 Ariadne Christina Renee Gladstone Best movie of 2005 so far. Very suspenseful morality tale. 5 stars
10/21/05 Last Tango Imp Heiress Modern Christian Morality Tale. Caroline reeps ultimate consequence of being unsaved. 5 stars
10/10/05 Michael Klapwyk It was total crap 1 stars
10/09/05 Anus I'm only giving 4 stars for the nice ending - bad guys win! 4 stars
9/20/05 ALBERT very good and scary 4 stars
9/09/05 Neet I thought the plot was creative and loved the ending 5 stars
9/01/05 M Suprise ending??? pppffffttt please! bored me to death 2 stars
9/01/05 Jin another flop for Hudson. 1 stars
8/24/05 Roy Not Worth the trip to the theater. stay home and clean 2 stars
8/22/05 Naka Naaah. 2 stars
8/16/05 ES This movie surprised me= stick through the slow parts and get a great story 4 stars
8/16/05 bobbi good story, bad developement,scenes disjointed, good acting 3 stars
8/15/05 .:*paris*:. another 1 of those forgotton movies liike boogyman and dark water what a waste 2 stars
8/14/05 Tim McL. Horrible, boring and stupid 1 stars
8/13/05 Hockeytown The poor kids...tee hee hee ; ) 4 stars
8/13/05 Dani Stylish, creepy, and a great ending. 5 stars
8/13/05 Fox A good film 4 stars
8/13/05 Ray You could see it coming by the trailer 2 stars
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  12-Aug-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 15-Nov-2005



Directed by
  Iain Softley

Written by
  Ehren Kruger

  Kate Hudson
  Gena Rowlands
  Peter Sarsgaard
  John Hurt
  Joy Bryant
  Maxine Barnett

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