The Skeleton Key

The Skeleton Key

DVD Rating: ****1/2

Reviewed by: Richard Mellor

Read Amber Wilkinson's film review of The Skeleton Key

The thinking may have gone something like this: release a horror film, witness it getting only middling-to-fair reviews, understand that to make the DVD a commercial success you need an above average package. Or, perhaps the team behind The Skeleton Key's home entertainment release was just feeling exceedingly generous. Either way, this DVD is about as good as they come.

What we all want are deleted scenes. Seeing segments that didn't make the final cut is fulfilling on different levels. It means more movie, for one thing, plus an insight into the director's mind. Here, you have the choice of simply watching the abandoned scenes in sequence, or doing so with director Iain Softley explaining why they were chopped.

Copy picture

Along with his commentary on the film itself, there is a documentary detailing its conception, albeit slightly short at just over five minutes, and the story of its casting. All the main stars contribute generously to this presentation, with welcome honesty and candidness. Much effort has gone into explaining the film and the thinking behind it, with the delightful result of helping you, the viewer, empathise a lot more with them, the filmmakers, and the film they came to produce.

Other documentaries explain various elements contained within the movie's plot. One short featurette tells how Felicity Plantation was used as The Skeleton Key's set; another talks in detail about blues music in the Deep South. Exploring Voodoo/Hoodoo does exactly what it says on the tin, setting out the differences between these two similar sounding practices, while Plantation Life gives the background to the old swamp dwellers, whose continued presence haunts the characters in the film.

And if that isn't enough, we get a lovely story from John Hurt, a love spell from Gena Rowlands and a spooky tale from Kate Hudson; all of these are presented with the respective star alone on camera, in the very essence of simplicity. There's even advice on how to make the perfect gumbo - not many DVDs can claim to offer cooking lessons.

This massive list of extras eventually leaves you feeling wonderfully spoilt. For here is over an hour's worth of treats and many a good reason to snaffle this enjoyable film on its DVD debut.

Reviewed on: 23 Nov 2005
Share this with others on...
The Skeleton Key packshot
Spooky goings on in an old house with old people (and Kate Hudson) in Louisiana.
Amazon link

Product Code: 025192585029

Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35:1

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround

Extras: Audio commentary with director Iain Softley; deleted scenes with optional commentary from Iain Softley; Behind The Locked Door: Making The Skeleton Key; Exploring Voodoo/Hoodoo; Recipe & Ritual: making the perfect gumbo; Blues In The Bayou; Kate Hudson's ghost story; Plantation Life; casting The Skeleton Key; John Hurt's story; A House Called Felicity; Gena's love spell; trailers

Search database: