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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
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Popularity
4,495 ( 552)
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:

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:

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

Gross USA:

$47,806,295

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$45,081,407
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir John Hurt offered to perform the stunt of Ben falling off the roof, but he was not allowed, as the stunt was ruled too dangerous to guarantee no injury. See more »

Goofs

When Ben is trying to kill himself, Caroline isn't as wet when she goes to wake up Violet, but is completely wet when she first goes outside to help Ben. 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 »


Soundtracks

Barefoot Dancing
Written by BlackBud
Performed by BlackBud
Courtesy of Independiente
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Conjure of Sacrifice.
6 October 2011 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

The Skeleton Key is directed by Iain Softley and written by Ehren Kruger. It stars Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, Peter Sarsgard, John Hurt and Joy Bryant. Music is by Ed Shearmur and cinematography by Dan Mindel. Plot finds Hudson as hospice nurse Caroline Ellis, who gains employment at an isolated plantation house in Southern Louisiana. She's to care for severe stroke victim Benjamin Deveraux (Hurt). Even though she's met with initial hostility from Benjamin's wife Violet (Rowlands), she soon settles in and the pair learn to live together comfortably as long as some of Violet's rules are adhered too. But this house has a dark past and just what is the secret hiding in the attic room where Benjamin had his stroke?

It's the perfect setting, a bayou house in the Deep South, lived in by a shifty old dear, and of course the mysterious room that will reveal hoodoo shenanigans and ancient curses. For the most part it's very standard stuff, not overtly jumpy or ever bloody, director Softley keeps the pace on the simmer whilst preferring moody atmosphere over terror. This works on a first time viewing because the pay off is monstrous and original, to be applauded in fact for putting freshness into an often stagnated sub-genre of horror. However, as I have just found out, a repeat viewing shows it to very much be a one trick pony. A great trick, mind, but once known it leaves the rest of the film looking decidedly naked. The performances are good enough from Rowlands and Hudson, though tempered some what by the fact that Hurt is wasted and Sarsgard seems out of place in the setting. While there's some good location photography from Mindel that comes at the Felicity Plantation, Saint James Parish, Louisiana.

Recommended to first time viewers who like mood over the macabre, mystery over mania and build up over blood. For those thinking of giving it a second go? Don't, do just what Kate Hudson's character should have done, and leave well alone. 6.5/10


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