The Skeleton Key - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Skeleton Key Reviews

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November 14, 2015
Atmospheric and frightening, that is all that a good horror movie should have. This one has them both.
November 2, 2015
It works as a psychological thriller if not an authentic voodoo tale. If this were a mathematical geometry problem,
the ending is phenomenal and a wonderful 'proof' to the whole story.
October 31, 2015
Great story. Scary without use of gore or shock. Satisfying plot. Slow and beautiful.
October 19, 2015
This movie has skill and a worthy technique, which is a lost art in most modern horror movies. The movie does a good job of establishing collection of characters that matter and introducing an appropriately eerie setting in the backwoods of Louisiana. Next, the movie introduces us to Hoodoo, which differs from Voodoo. The Hoodoo plot device is a refreshingly different strategy for inducing terror in a horror movie. It is full of mystery, old-time history, and the discomfort of witch-like black magic. The pacing is good; it knows not to rush things. There are important pieces of information in the carefully constructed start that form a picture of what lies ahead. At first, it seems all too straightforward and disappointingly predicable. You think it might still be enjoyable enough if you try to take in the journey and silently put the obvious ending out of mind. This is where the movie exceeds expectations, with a delightfully dramatic set of twists and surprises. It finishes of with tension and action that comes from the right place with its strong story building. The environment of the remote swamplands and the old plantation mansion deliver, as they should. This story is clever and tight, but it may take more than one watch to put all the pieces together fully. Kate Hudson gives us a rare reminder that she can act when she feels like it. Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, and Peter Sarsgaard are all well above-average castings for a horror flick as well. This is a very pleasant surprise if you like a more involved scary movie with mystery, plot, characters and substance.
½ October 6, 2015
I saw it a while ago when I still had HBO, and I want to see it again for a better gauge.
August 15, 2015
Great film, good plot twists.
August 15, 2015
A long and boring snoozer..
½ August 10, 2015
Garbage. pure and simple
½ August 5, 2015
Interesting film but not particularly scary
½ July 22, 2015
I love how the movies portray the backwoods of Louisiana to be wet, gatored-out danger zones of Voodoo, gas station dwelling creeps, and crumbling mansions - it's overtly ridiculous, but I'll be the first to admit that sometimes a little fried Southern spookiness is unbeatable. 1964's "Hush ... Hush, Sweet Charlotte" emphasized madness and tangled itself up with Tennessee Williams-esque melodrama; 1981's "The Beyond" seemed to act as one big, inconceivable nightmare only cautioning Northerners to stay away from the South. Isn't it great how a setting can go from point of interest to secondary character in a matter of seconds? How gothic terror can seem slightly creepier as long as spells, potions, and psychological collapse are involved?
The movie doing the Louisiana-based pigeonholing this time around is 2005's "The Skeleton Key", a shadow infused but ultimately safe horror movie that greatly depends on the star quality of Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, and John Hurt (the latter two hamming it up with the former emulating Deborah Kerr or Claire Bloom). It's passably entertaining, but there's something very been-there-done-that about it, either because of Hudson's character's unwillingness to hear out the handful of helpful hints to get out of the stereotyped Southern backwoods or because the "big reveal" is less shocking and more wince-inducing.
Hudson convinces as Caroline Ellis, a young caretaker hired to serve the dying Ben Deveraux (Hurt). The victim of a crippling stroke, Ben cannot move or speak, but something in the air suggests that something other than mere bad health was responsible. The Deveraux household, it seems, has a long history, a history involving death, Hoodoo (not Voodoo), and other supernatural occurrences. Most, in their good senses, would get as far away from possible from the creepy, crumbling mansion. Not Violet. Despite the fact that the matriarch of the home, Violet (Rowlands), is a suspicious figure, despite the fact that Caroline's skeleton key opens everything in the house besides a shady room in the attic, despite the fact that locals warn her that the Deveraux estate is not one to be trusted, she goes out of her way to not only commit to job, but also to solve the mystery that surrounds her new job. Tsk tsk.
The biggest problem in "The Skeleton Key" lies in the fact that most people with common sense would leave its ghastly backwood setting in a hasty sprint - Caroline, on the other hand, decides it would be best to put her life on the line for the sake of curiosity. But curiosity kills cats, and "The Skeleton Key" works on a premise we never quite believe. There's no way someone in Caroline's position would stay as long as she does. I wouldn't. As the film spirals into a disturbing ending that puts its lead heroine in grave danger, we aren't thrilled, rather smirking that this wouldn't have happened if she would have just let her intuition shut up for a second.
But "The Skeleton Key" is made with a great deal of competence, and that, that, I can admire. It's B-movie material, but because Softley pretends it's better than it is, scares do make their way onto the scene and are delivered effectively. The mansion is a perfect balance of gothic chilliness and candlelit spooks, seemingly gorgeous by day; the way Hurt's silent performance is completely made of unfiltered dread only awakens our own. And Rowlands, chewing the scenery like a "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" era Bette Davis, is a deliciously theatrical villain. I just wish "The Skeleton Key" was more original; while well-made, it's nothing we haven't seen before.
½ July 14, 2015
Crazy story... Amazing twists in the story! Love Kate Hudson!!!
June 28, 2015
Decent ending to a mediocre film.
½ June 23, 2015
The Skeleton Key is an excellent story with a killer twist ending, but it's not scary. If only!!! This really could have been something. It's stylish, well-acted and well-written. It just needs to be scary. I mean, it is a horror movie after all....
June 16, 2015
Another failed attempt at regaining the acclaimed status of PG-13-rated horror films. Besides an awkward and confusing ending, the plot is extremely cliched and there is close to nothing "frightening" or remotely scary in this movie. Altogether, I would not recommend The Skeleton Key to anyone who is expecting a film similar to "The Sixth Sense" or "Insidious."
June 15, 2015
The movie is never scary and you are never sold that somebody is in danger - probably to poor execution, but the cast is great and the twist is clever enough to be worth it. Better than many of its' counterparts.
April 5, 2015
Creepy atmosphere, but it's an uneven thriller. Things didn't get interesting until the end. (First and only viewing - 2/18/2015)
March 21, 2015
This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I have watched it several times & always look forward to the next viewing. Ending is creepy yet exhilarating because it was not what I expected.
March 11, 2015
For the most part it is enjoyable. Perhaps it depends on the viewer's taste whether they are interested in Voodoo. Now, it does not go into too much depth on it, but it does catch a lot of attention. The visuals are somewhat memorable but the plot is without a doubt rushed. The ending is a perfect example of it, although it was entertaining (and a tad too cheesy). Character development is lacking, and there are scenes that do not last as long as they should have. For example, when she is in the boat, the scenery is truly eye-catching but suddenly moves on to a cliché scene with the lawyer, who we know virtually nothing about. The scenes aren't scary whatsoever, but then again, I never watched it as a horror film. On the positive side, the plot is unpredictable and again, its voodoo side is extremely intriguing. There is a lot to make up for the little flaws in the visuals and story-line. All it needs is a bit more time for development and fewer "creepy attics" to make up for the obvious areas used to make it look scarier.
February 12, 2015
The Skeleton Key: Don't believe the critics - Kate Hudson is absolutely perfect in this stylish and wonderfully creepy horror film about a well-meaning live-in caregiver who gets more than she bargained for when she takes a job at a dilapidated house in the Louisiana swamp. Yes, there are the usual cliches - voodoo, chicken claws, etc. but the setting is captivating and the jaw-droppingly unforgettable twist ending will make you want to watch it again. B+
February 4, 2015
The Skeleton Key is one of the few horror films that have a really great story. There are a few slight scares but it relies more on an excellent plot and suspense then special effects. Very few movies give me an ending I'm not expecting the way this one did.
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