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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 82,786 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.



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5 nominations. See more awards »



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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


Fearing Is Believing 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?


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


When Caroline is showing Jill the newspaper ad for the hospice job, she has circled it numerous times with wide pen strokes. When Jill looks at it again, the pen strokes have obviously changed positions, more an oval shape. 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 »


61 Highway Blues
Adapted & Arranged by Fred McDowell, Alan Lomax
Performed by "Mississippi" Fred McDowell
Courtesy of The Alan Lomax Archive/Rounder Records
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

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 ****

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