Anna Ivers returns home to her sister Alex after a stint in a mental hospital, though her recovery is jeopardized thanks to her cruel stepmother. Her dismay quickly turns to horror when she is visited by ghastly visions of her dead mother.
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
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[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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In case you haven't seen "The Skeleton Key" yet, be very careful when reading any reviews... The less you hear, read or even know about this film the better, because I assure that you don't want to pick up any spoilers about this surprisingly original and ingenious horror-story. "The Skeleton Key" is an old-fashioned, powerful and above all well written haunted house thriller with great acting, macabre scenery and a shocking twist-ending that stands as one of the best I've ever seen in modern cinema. Beautifully set in the swampy region of New Orleans (morbidly enough, I saw this film shortly after the hurricane Katrina disaster), the story introduces a young nurse who moves into the ominous Deveraux mansion to look after its dying owner Ben. He had a nearly-fatal stroke in the dark attic of the house and, even though it looks like it was because of his old age, Caroline soon starts to suspect that something (or someone) nearly frightened him to death. Ben's wife Violet behaves very strangely and the old house's vicious history forces Caroline to investigate what could have happened. She discovers that the earliest occupants of the house practiced Hoodoo, which is a more spiritual variant of Voodoo... That's really all you can say about the story without giving away essential clues but, trust me, the rest of the film is definitely worth checking out yourself. Fans of atmospheric ghost stories (such as "The Others" or "Angel Heart") will particularly enjoy this film as it contains almost no graphic violence or gory monsters. Instead of blood, there's a wide collection of truly eerie set-pieces and subtle frights. Kate Hudson delivers a great performance, especially because she's not really familiar with the horror genre. She receives good feedback from Gena Rowlands, Peter Sarsgaard and of course John Hurt. The latter is always genius, even when he hardly has any lines. Highly recommended!
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