Down 403 this week

The Skeleton Key (2005)

PG-13  |   |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller  |  12 August 2005 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 82,804 users   Metascore: 47/100
Reviews: 368 user | 191 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

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



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

5 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Gothika (2003)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A repressed female psychiatrist wakes up as a patient in the asylum where she worked, with no memory of why she is there or what she has done.

Director: Mathieu Kassovitz
Stars: Halle Berry, Penélope Cruz, Robert Downey Jr.
Case 39 (2009)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A social worker fights to save a girl from her abusive parents, only to discover that the situation is more dangerous than she ever expected.

Director: Christian Alvart
Stars: Renée Zellweger, Ian McShane, Jodelle Ferland
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost - or that she is losing her mind.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Harrison Ford, Michelle Pfeiffer, Katharine Towne
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Newlyweds are terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a large house that was the site of a grisly mass murder a year before.

Director: Andrew Douglas
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jimmy Bennett
1408 (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A man who specializes in debunking paranormal occurrences checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. Soon after settling in, he confronts genuine terror.

Director: Mikael Håfström
Stars: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack
The Uninvited (2009)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Anna Rydell returns home to her sister (and best friend) Alex after a stint in a mental hospital, though her recovery is jeopardized thanks to her cruel stepmother, aloof father, and the presence of a ghost in their home.

Directors: Charles Guard, Thomas Guard
Stars: Emily Browning, Arielle Kebbel, Elizabeth Banks
Hide and Seek (2005)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

As a widower tries to piece together his life in the wake of his wife's suicide, his daughter finds solace -- at first -- in her imaginary friend.

Director: John Polson
Stars: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen
Mirrors I (2008)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An ex-cop and his family are the target of an evil force that is using mirrors as a gateway into their home.

Director: Alexandre Aja
Stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Paula Patton, Amy Smart
Ghost Ship (2002)
Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A salvage crew that discovers a long-lost 1962 passenger ship floating lifeless in a remote region of the Bering Sea soon notices, as they prepare to tow it back to land, that "strange things" happen...

Director: Steve Beck
Stars: Julianna Margulies, Gabriel Byrne, Ron Eldard
The Others (2001)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A woman who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that her family home is haunted.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Fionnula Flanagan
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A lawyer takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a young girl.

Director: Scott Derrickson
Stars: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Orphan (2009)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be.

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman


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


You will believe. 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 Andy Barker, P.I.: The Big No Sleep (2007) See more »


God Moves on the Water
Written by Blind Willie Johnson
Performed by Blind Willie Johnson
Courtesy of Shanachie Entertainment Corp.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

still spooked by the ending
12 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Part of the success of this type of movie is setting up and making sure its resolution lives up to its expectations. I must say that in this film everything seems to work, and yet... I'm not sure what spooked more: its ending or the nature of its ending.

The film deals with the adventures of a young care worker in the middle of Louisiana. The atmospheric surroundings, the haunting score, beautiful, spooky photography, and some very good acting by Rowlands and Kate Hudson raise the bar for upcoming "horror films". We're glued to the screen for nearly two hours, as things become more mysterious and intriguing. A few times we're treated to a jolt and a revelation, but what closes the film is bound to ruffle a few feathers.

Above all, this is a very good movie, with a script that doesn't cheat anyone and doesn't rely on silly gimmicks. Those factors should portend good tidings for its success in its original release, but it will probably become a classic of its kind. The heroine in distress manages to be smarter than the usual stereotype. She wants to explore the surroundings and solve the problem. The problem is she has no idea how bad the situation might be.

Gena Rowlands provides her character with nuances rarely seen in this type of film. She is a strange character and hooks up the audience from the very beginning. There is no really an archetype for what Rowlands brings to life. A few might find the previous statement questionable, but if you look closely to the development of her character, it is almost an original.

Kate Hudson makes a very strong impression in this film. She goes beyond the pretty actress to an accomplished performer who matches up to Rowland's intensity. She navigates the film with an ease rarely seen in today's roster of plastic pre-packaged pseudo celebrities. It is refreshing to see an actress make you care for the character that has so often been portrayed as an offensive stereotype. There no gratitude's screaming scenes here. The film reminds me of "The Others", a movie with substance and intelligence.

This is a film that I will highly recommend to my friends, particularly because I want to hear what they have to say about that ending.

170 of 230 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Any other uncommon horror movies like this? RodrigoMachadoMartins
Why was Caroline so nosy, demanding and snippy? Karma-For-You
Creepy Conjuration Record spikey_125
Violet bbe225
At a total loss whitney-tracy-1972
Is it not stupidly unrealistic that the servants would be burnt... BitOfFun
Discuss The Skeleton Key (2005) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: