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 »
Caroline needs chalk to make a protective hoodoo symbol. She uses blackboard chalk, but that is made of gypsum, not of calcite. 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 ...
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"You see things... in the mirrors." - Violet Devereaux
The latest psychological thriller, 'The Skeleton Key', follows a young hospice nurse taking care of a disturbed patient in the creepy and swampy bayous of Louisana. Kate Hudson plays the hospice nurse, Caroline. Caroline is a kind, brave but very curious caretaker which gets her into trouble sometimes. When her previous patient passes away, Caroline is sent for to live in a spooky farmhouse in the bayou, and take care of an old senile man, Ben Devereaux (John Hurt - Owning Mahoney) who is pretty much paralyzed from a stroke he recently had. Caroline lives in the house with Ben and his typical old Southern housewife, Violet Devereaux (Gena Rowlands - Hysterical Blindness). Everything seems to be going fine until some freaky stuff starts to happen that isn't easily explained. Violet later tells Caroline the house is haunted with the spirits of slave voodoo enthusiasts. And so starts the creepy tale that is the 'Skeleton Key' with great acting, cool visuals but a lagging screenplay.
'The Skeleton Key' starts off very slow, then towards the middle picks up pace, then it's slow again, then it concludes with a fantastic and unpredictable ending. Part of the reason I'm giving 'The Skeleton Key' a good review, is because the ending makes up for the constant dragging of the film. It's not so much that the screenplay is bad, it's actually quite intriguing, it's just that a lot of time could have been shaved off of the final cut of 'The Skeleton Key' and it could have made as much sense and ultimately flow a hell of a lot more smoothly. I was expecting a scary movie out of 'The Skeleton Key', and got a movie that was just kind of creepy. If you want to see crazy and terrifying ghost visuals and blood 'The Skeleton Key' is definitely going to disappoint you, but if you want a film with more psychological terror then you'll enjoy 'The Skeleton Key'. Kate Hudson gives a solid performance as the lead Caroline. Gena Rowlands is fantastic as the o'le southern housewife, and John Hurt is great as the gorked out husband, who really only has one or two lines. The film also stars Peter Sarsgaard in a near-riveting performance as the small town's estate lawyer, who Kate Hudson becomes attracted to. The four leads work great together, and nobody in the film seems out of place.
If you see 'The Skeleton Key' don't be expecting this year's 'Sixth Sense' because it's no where near that caliber. I think the less you expect out of 'The Skeleton Key' prior to seeing it, the more you will get out of it. Try not to fall asleep during the more tedious parts of the film, because you need to really pay close attention to the film to get the ending. Really, if it wasn't for the shock ending I wouldn't recommend 'The Skeleton Key', and with the shock ending I loosely recommend it for theaters. Grade: B- (screened at AMC Deer Valley 30, Phoenix, Arizona, 8/15/05)
my ratings guide - A+ (absolutley flawless); A (a masterpiece, near-perfect); A- (excellent); B+ (great); B (very good); B- (good); C+ (a mixed bag); C (average); C- (disappointing); D+ (bad); D (very bad); D- (absolutley horrendous); F (not one redeeming quality in this hunk of Hollywood feces).
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