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
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 Caroline is reporting for her interview, she steps out of her car and walks up to the house for the first time. We see her back from the car's side mirror. In reality, the car is parked (and she walked) in a direction that would not allow her to be visible in the car's side mirror. See more »
[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 »
61 Highway Blues
Adapted & Arranged by Fred McDowell, Alan Lomax
Performed by Fred McDowell (as "Mississippi" Fred McDowell)
Courtesy of The Alan Lomax Archive/Rounder Records
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group See more »
They Do that Hoodoo that they Do so...eh, Relatively Well
Horror movies have become a dime a dozen in the past few years. The watchable ones seem to fall into two categories of late: misguided psychological thrillers headlined by a consummate actress (witness Naomi Watts in "The Ring 2" or Jennifer Connelly in "Dark Water") or over the top slasher/gore-fests with serious kitsch value (witness Romero's enjoyable zombie flick "Land of the Dead" or Rob Zombie's sadistic "Devil's Rejects"). All of the rest have pretty much been unbearable cliché-ridden hack jobs ("White Noise," "Darkness Falls," etc...)
Oddly enough, "The Skeleton Key" doesn't fall into any of these categories and it comes across as a breath of fresh air, an old-fashioned throwback to the traditional Gothic mystery thriller, where a pretty female outsider (Kate Hudson acquitting herself rather nicely here as the hospice nurse traveling deep into the Bayou to care for an apparent stroke victim) moves into a big old house/castle that just might be haunted. The director and screenwriter start things slowly, and do a nice job of creating a realistic setting before letting all the mumbo-jumbo slowly and effectively creep in. Gena Rowlands and John Hurt (immobile and mute for most of the film) are fairly good in their respective roles as the married couple with more than just skeletons in their closets. We've seen this stuff all before, but it's done fairly well here with no sense of flash or pretensions, and as silly (and potentially offensive) as all this Hoodoo in the Bayou stuff is, the audience is treated to a twist ending that makes perfect sense in the context we have been given. This isn't a twist ending for twisting sake, but a fitting conclusion to the story.
"The Skeleton Key" tries to remind people of classics like "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Others." It may not ultimately hold a candle to those films, but it's a very entertaining way to spend a few hours.
160 of 190 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?