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The Skeleton Key (2005)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 75,090 users   Metascore: 47/100
Reviews: 359 user | 190 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.

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Cast

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

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

Plot Keywords:

hoodoo | attic | skeleton key | louisiana | key | See more »

Taglines:

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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

12 August 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der verbotene Schlüssel  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$43,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$103,646 (Hong Kong) (23 September 2005)

Gross:

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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At the opening of the film, the book that Caroline is reading to the hospice patient is Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island." Toward the beginning of that work, Jim Hawkins is caring for the elderly Billy Bones after the man has a stroke. Caroline begins her ordeal in the same way: taking care of the elderly Ben Devereaux post-stroke. See more »

Goofs

When Caroline crashes into the gate with the Volkswagen, the front bumper falls off. It disappears and reappears between shots. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Kate Hudson (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Les Clefs de la Prison
Written by John A. Lomax, Alan Lomax
Performed by Elita, Mary and Ella Hoffpauir
Courtesy of Rounder Records
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Well Spun Southern-Gothic Horror Tale.
23 April 2006 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

I saw "The Skeleton Key" back in August 2005 during it's theatrical run, and I can say it was one of the better horror/thrillers of the year.

"The Skeleton Key" is about a young hospice worker named Caroline Ellis who decided to take a caregiving job outside of New Orleans deep in the bayou. She will be working for Violet Devereaux, and will be taking care of her bed ridden husband, Ben. Caroline senses something eerie about the old plantation house, and begins to uncover a strange chain of events and incidents after opening a secret room within the attic. In the attic are all kinds of strange things, and strangest of all and old record called 'The Conjure of Sacrifice'. Caroline begins to suspect something isn't going right within the home. She asks her friend Jill who explains that the attic is probably a Hoodoo room, and tells Caroline that Hoodoo is folk magic, and it can't hurt you if you don't believe in it. But if Caroline dares believe in what she has been exposed to, it can ultimately destroy her. Could there be ghosts within the old home? Or could something else even more sinister be going on?

I can't say a whole lot about this movie, but trust me you will be pleased with it, and the ending will surely shock you. It has to be one of the greatest twists I've seen in a movie, and came completely unexpected. When you think you know what's happening, everything is completely reversed, and I have much respect for the writer of this film, who incidentally wrote 2002's hit "The Ring". I think this film is by far better though.

The movie sets a very creepy tone and atmosphere, with all the imagery of the Spanish moss, etc. Director Softeley uses lots of southern imagery to add a certain texture to the movie. Also the record featured in the film, 'The Conjure of Sacrifice' is very creepy, listening to it can give you the chills. Kate Hudson is excellent as our main character, and Gena Rowlands was perfect for the shadowy yet friendly old woman. John Hurt is great too, speaking hardly one word throughout the whole movie, yet giving a perfect performance by mannerisms and facial expression. How many actors can do that?

I think one of the reasons this movie appealed to me so much was because it took place in the South, and I've always been fascinated with places like that, but overall I think anyone can enjoy the movie - it has great acting, an excellent story, and some pleasingly creepy moments. But don't expect some blood and guts horror film, this movie builds tension and suspense rather than drench us with blood, it isn't that type of horror film. "The Skeleton Key" is an excellent Southern-Gothic mystery, compelling all the way through. They don't make many of 'em like this. 10/10.


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