The Skeleton Key

The Skeleton Key

**

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Come, do that voodoo that you do so, well, badly, actually. In these days of mass travel and the well known New Orleans Mardi Gras, surely Louisiana should be more associated with binge drinking and flashing your bits than body parts floating in bottles?

"The writer of The Ring" Ehren Kruger wants us to forget about going out swamping booze and get back to the swamp, where people speak in French patois and keep old secrets about ancient rituals and ghosts.

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Caroline (Kate Hudson) is a careworker, unable to stand the conveyer-belt existence of the home she works in, who takes a job out in those scary swamps, helping Violet Devereaux (Gena Rowlands) look after her husband Ben (John Hurt - surely getting paid the most money per word he has ever earned), who had a stroke while up in the attic.

But what really happened there in the attic? Caroline becomes increasingly convinced something more sinister is going on in the house with its banging doors - opened with the key of the title - and lack of mirrors, and sets out to unlock the mystery.

The only real mystery, however, is what is this great ensemble cast doing in such a poorly executed movie? Hurt barely speaks - not a bad idea considering the lameness of the script - while Hudson and Rowlands, along with Peter Sarsgaard, who plays the elderly couple's lawyer, do their best to put the eek into creak.

Ultimately, the story is just too ponderous - and imponderable. Billed as a horror, it's almost too tame for even the "thriller" moniker. The shocks aren't shocking, the spooks aren't spooky and any whispers of fear are swamped by the daftness of the plot.

So much for the joys of hex.

Reviewed on: 29 Jul 2005
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Spooky goings on in an old house with old people (and Kate Hudson) in Louisiana.
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Read more The Skeleton Key reviews:

Richard Mellor **
Scott Macdonald **

Director: Iain Softley

Writer: Ehren Kruger

Starring: Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard, Joy Bryant, Maxine Barnett, Fahnlohnee R. Harris, Marion Zinser, Deneen Tyler, Ann Dalrymple, Trula M. Marcus

Year: 2005

Runtime: 104 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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If you like this, try:

Lake Placid
The Reaping
Rosemary's Baby