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The Skeleton Key (2005)

PG-13  |   |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller  |  12 August 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 81,673 users   Metascore: 47/100
Reviews: 366 user | 189 critic | 32 from

A hospice nurse working at a spooky New Orleans plantation home finds herself entangled in a mystery involving the house's dark past.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Devereaux
Maxine Barnett ...
Mama Cynthia
Fahnlohnee R. Harris ...
Hallie (as Fahnlohnee Harris)
Marion Zinser ...
Bayou Woman
Desk Nurse
Trula M. Marcus ...
Nurse Trula (as Trula Marcus)
Tonya Staten ...
Nurse Audrey
Robertson Thorpe (as Tom Uskali)
Madeleine Thorpe
Martin Thorpe


A young woman helping care for an invalid in New Orleans finds herself caught in the middle of morbid going-ons centered around a group of Hoodoo practitioners. Written by Ed

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


It can open any door. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, some partial nudity and thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »





Release Date:

12 August 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der verbotene Schlüssel  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$43,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£769,698 (UK) (29 July 2005)


$47,806,295 (USA) (21 October 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ronald McCall had to cut his dreadlocks to play the character of Papa Justify. See more »


Toward the beginning of the movie, Caroline takes a shower and goes to sleep. She is awoken by Ben crawling on the roof and goes outside to save him. The rain makes her faces drip mascara, which she never had time to put on since her shower. See more »


[first lines]
Caroline Ellis: [reading from Treasure Island] I lost no time, of course, in telling my mother all that I knew, and we saw ourselves at once in a difficult and dangerous position. Something must speedily be resolved upon, and it occurred to us at last to go forth together and seek help in the neighboring hamlet. No sooner said than done. Bare-headed as we were, we ran out at once into the gathering evening and the frosty fog. The hamlet lay not many hundred yards away, though out of view on the ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits. See more »


Referenced in Be Kind Rewind (2008) See more »


Do Whatcha Wanna
Written by Keith Frazier, Philip Frazier, Kermit Ruffins
Performed by ReBirth Brass Band (as The Rebirth Brass Band)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Great acting and good ending
4 August 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Having seen the lacklustre trailer for this film, I wouldn't have bothered to see it at the cinema if it wasn't for some very positive reviews here in the UK. It isn't the most original film and the ending, while good, isn't gob-smacking. But it is very well shot and has some strong acting performances in it. Kate Hudson is particularly good as the inquisitive nurse. Her character generally doesn't need to be told things twice and I liked the way her thought processes appeared logical. I felt like she was doing what I'd have done in her circumstances. I've never been to the Southern USA, but the sets and locations felt very atmospheric. I'm sure to folks from those parts it looked a bit hackneyed, but to a UK viewer it felt mysterious and brooding. Overall, a very enjoyable was to spend an hour and a half. See it in the cinema, as I feel that the pacing and atmosphere could be lost on a small screen in a living room.

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Any other uncommon horror movies like this? RodrigoMachadoMartins
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