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The Skeleton Key (2005)

PG-13 | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 12 August 2005 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Iain Softley

Writer:

Ehren Kruger
5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kate Hudson ... Caroline Ellis
Gena Rowlands ... Violet Devereaux
John Hurt ... Ben Devereaux
Peter Sarsgaard ... Luke Marshall
Joy Bryant ... Jill
Maxine Barnett Maxine Barnett ... Mama Cynthia
Fahnlohnee R. Harris Fahnlohnee R. Harris ... Hallie (as Fahnlohnee Harris)
Marion Zinser Marion Zinser ... Bayou Woman
Deneen Tyler ... Desk Nurse
Ann Dalrymple ... C.N.A.
Trula M. Marcus Trula M. Marcus ... Nurse Trula (as Trula Marcus)
Tonya Staten Tonya Staten ... Nurse Audrey
Thomas Uskali ... Robertson Thorpe (as Tom Uskali)
Jen Apgar ... Madeleine Thorpe
Forrest Landis ... Martin Thorpe
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

UIP [Brazil] | UIP [Spain] | See more »

Country:

USA | Germany

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

12 August 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der verbotene Schlüssel See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The gas station that Caroline visits has a wind chime made of bones hanging from the front entry way. They are opossum penile bones. See more »

Goofs

When Caroline crashes into the gate with the Volkswagen, the front bumper falls off. It disappears and reappears between shots. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Death Letter
Written by Johnny Farmer
Performed by Johnny Farmer
Courtesy of Fat Possum Records, Inc. and Big Legal Mess, LLC
By Arrangement with Wixen Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
still spooked by the ending
12 August 2005 | by aharmasSee all my reviews

Part of the success of this type of movie is setting up and making sure its resolution lives up to its expectations. I must say that in this film everything seems to work, and yet... I'm not sure what spooked more: its ending or the nature of its ending.

The film deals with the adventures of a young care worker in the middle of Louisiana. The atmospheric surroundings, the haunting score, beautiful, spooky photography, and some very good acting by Rowlands and Kate Hudson raise the bar for upcoming "horror films". We're glued to the screen for nearly two hours, as things become more mysterious and intriguing. A few times we're treated to a jolt and a revelation, but what closes the film is bound to ruffle a few feathers.

Above all, this is a very good movie, with a script that doesn't cheat anyone and doesn't rely on silly gimmicks. Those factors should portend good tidings for its success in its original release, but it will probably become a classic of its kind. The heroine in distress manages to be smarter than the usual stereotype. She wants to explore the surroundings and solve the problem. The problem is she has no idea how bad the situation might be.

Gena Rowlands provides her character with nuances rarely seen in this type of film. She is a strange character and hooks up the audience from the very beginning. There is no really an archetype for what Rowlands brings to life. A few might find the previous statement questionable, but if you look closely to the development of her character, it is almost an original.

Kate Hudson makes a very strong impression in this film. She goes beyond the pretty actress to an accomplished performer who matches up to Rowland's intensity. She navigates the film with an ease rarely seen in today's roster of plastic pre-packaged pseudo celebrities. It is refreshing to see an actress make you care for the character that has so often been portrayed as an offensive stereotype. There no gratitude's screaming scenes here. The film reminds me of "The Others", a movie with substance and intelligence.

This is a film that I will highly recommend to my friends, particularly because I want to hear what they have to say about that ending.


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