The Skeleton Key

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Released 2005

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Movie Summary

Director:
Iain Softley
Released:
2005
Rating:
PG-13
The Skeleton Key is a 2005 horror film about the supernatural forces hidden in the bayous of southern Louisiana. Hospice nurse Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson) hires on at a plantation buried deep in the bayous. The owner, Violet Deveraux (Gena Rowlands), needs help taking care of her dying husband, Benjamin Deverauz (John Hurt). Not everything is as it seems. Caroline suspects something is amiss with Benjamin's illness and discovers what might be magical items while searching the mansion's attic. Violet reveals to Caroline that two servants used to live at the plantation in the 1920s, but were lynched for practicing hoodoo, a form of magic. Caroline begins investigating hoodoo magic, asking local residents for information about the obscure art, hoping to unravel the mystery surrounding the plantations and its residents. As Caroline digs deeper, she discovers a plot stretching back decades, involving forces beyond her imagination, and finds herself beginning to question whether magic does, in fact, exist.

Metacritic Score

  • 70

    Los Angeles Times Carina Chocano

    Tightly plotted and suspenseful enough to keep you guessing until the satisfying, unexpected end, which is worth suspending disbelief for. After all, as they point out in the movie...

  • 60

    The New York Times Manohla Dargis

    One of the most enjoyably inane movies of the season, this faux Southern Gothic offers an embarrassment of geek pleasures.

  • 50

    Variety Robert Koehler

    Stirring up a humid Gothic mood and amassing a gifted roster of actors, The Skeleton Key is unable to ward off the nasty spirits of formula screenwriting.

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    Themes

    facing danger, fight for survival, back from the dead, Supernatural, Thrillers