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The Skeleton Key (2005)

PG-13 | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 12 August 2005 (USA)
2:26 | Trailer

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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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5 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Maxine Barnett ...
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


It can open any door. 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  »


Box Office


$43,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,057,945, 14 August 2005, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$47,806,295, 23 October 2005

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$45,081,407, 31 December 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The swamp behind the Devereaux house was created with CGI effects. The actual house used in the film, Felicity Plantation, is situated inland in St. James Parish and is surrounded by farmland. The fictional Devereaux house was situated in Terrebonne Parish, which is coastal and swampy. See more »


When Caroline first finds the door in the attic, there's a flowery pattern on it. When she goes back to unlock it later, it's not the same doorknob. 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 »


Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Peter Sarsgaard/The Strokes (2006) See more »


Conjure of Sacrifice
Written by Ehren Kruger, Walter Breaux, Bruce Sunpie Barns, Fawn Lohnee Harris, Eluard Burt II,
Alfred Roberts
Performed by Walter Breaux, Bruce Sunpie Barns, Fawn Lohnee Harris, Eluard Burt II, Alfred Roberts
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Hoodoo!! Whodunit!!
3 October 2005 | by See all my reviews

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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