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The Skeleton Key (2005)

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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 hospice worker helping care for an invalid who lives in a remote mansion in the Louisiana bayous finds herself caught in the middle of morbid happenings 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:

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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
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Did You Know?


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 »


When Ben is trying to kill himself, Caroline isn't as wet when she goes to wake up Violet, but is completely wet when she first goes outside to help Ben. 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 ...
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Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits. See more »


If I Can Dream
Written by Earl Brown (as W. Earl Brown)
Performed by Elvis Presley
Courtesy of Sony BMG Strategic Marketing Group/The RCA Records Label
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A twist that will leave your head spinning!
31 December 2005 | by (Brentwood, USA) – See all my reviews

Intelligent, stylish, and compelling all the way, The Skeleton Key is one of the best supernatural thrillers in years!

Young nurse takes up a job at an isolated bayou estate, where she begins to believe that someone is messing with some sinister magic.

Director Iain Softley gives this film some nice style, using the feverish swamp setting to build an atmosphere of tension and the unknown. However it's really Ehren Kruger's cleverly crafted story that will draw one into the film. Kruger delivers a tale full of mystery and unsettling sequences, all of which builds to a terrificly twisted finale. It's a true surprise!

Kate Hudson makes for a good female lead, but Gena Rowlands is probably the best of the cast as her shadowy character. Peter Sarsgaard does a nice turn as the family lawyer, while John Hurt makes the most of playing a mute old man.

For those seeking a great supernatural thriller, look no further than this terrific hit. It may be one of the best supernatural shockers of 2005!

*** out of ****

27 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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