The Skeleton Key


The Skeleton Key

Critics Consensus

Thanks to its creaky and formulaic script, The Skeleton Key is more mumbo-jumbo than hoodoo and more dull than scary.



Total Count: 153


Audience Score

User Ratings: 192,234
User image

Watch it now

The Skeleton Key Photos

Movie Info

Caroline, a hospice worker, is hired to tend the very old and dying Ben Devereaux. Devereaux lives in a huge Louisiana mansion, where he's watched over by his wife, Violet. Caroline soon discovers that a pair of century-old spirits haunts the mansion. The spirits are evil and are manipulating the living to fit their desires, and Caroline herself is at the center of one of their sinister schemes.


Kate Hudson
as Caroline Ellis
Gena Rowlands
as Violet Devereaux
John Hurt
as Ben Devereaux
Maxine Barnett
as Mama Cynthia
Marion Zinser
as Bayou Woman
Deneen Tyler
as Desk Nurse
Trula M. Marcus
as Nurse Trula
Tonya Staten
as Nurse Audrey
Tom Uskali
as Robertson Thorpe
Jen Apgar
as Madeleine Thorpe
Forrest Landis
as Martin Thorpe
Jamie Lee Redmon
as Grace Thorpe
Ronald McCall
as Papa Justify
Jeryl Prescott
as Mama Cecile
Isaach De Bankolé
as Creole Gas Station Owner
Christa Thorne
as Creole Mother
Lakrishi Kindred
as Frail Customer
Mark Krasnoff
as Pickup Driver
as Luke's Secretary
Susannah Thorarinsson
as Waitress in Bar
Bill H. McKenzie
as Mr. Talcott
Joe Chrest
as Paramedic
Tiffany Helland
as Party Guest
Brian Ruppert
as Party Guest
Philip Frazier
as Rebirth Brass Band
Derek Shezbie
as Rebirth Brass Band
Glen Andrews
as Rebirth Brass Band
Stafford Agee
as Rebirth Brass Band
Keith Frazier
as Rebirth Brass Band
Derrick Tabb
as Rebirth Brass Band
Shamar Allen
as Rebirth Brass Band
Byron Bernard
as Rebirth Brass Band
Herbert Stevens
as Rebirth Brass Band
George Harper
as Jazz Band
Howard McCary
as Jazz Band
Kevin O'Neal
as Jazz Band
Ryan Porter
as Jazz Band
Ryan Regalado
as Jazz Band
Nolan Shaheed
as Jazz Band
Dustin Fleetwood
as Third Infantry Band Member
Roderick Harrison
as Third Infantry Band Member
Torrey McKinley
as Third Infantry Band Member
View All

News & Interviews for The Skeleton Key

Critic Reviews for The Skeleton Key

All Critics (153) | Top Critics (36) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (96)

  • This is a moody, creepy thriller with some genuinely scary moments and a couple of twists that took me completely by surprise.

    Aug 15, 2005
  • The Skeleton Key delivers on all formulaic counts, except one: It never serves up any truly nightmare-inspiring scares.

    Aug 12, 2005 | Full Review…
  • A diverting, stylish thriller that, despite pivoting on that and other whoppers, deserves credit for creating an authentic, original vibe.

    Aug 12, 2005 | Full Review…
  • This is essentially a haunted-house horror flick that starts off with effectively eerie scenes but devolves into a forced and mildly ridiculous ghost story.

    Aug 12, 2005 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
    USA Today
    Top Critic
  • Criminal waste of talent.

    Aug 12, 2005 | Rating: 1.5/4 | Full Review…
  • There's lots of bad stuff brewing on the bayou in this occasionally scary but more often silly movie, which wastes some good actors along the way.

    Aug 12, 2005 | Rating: 2/4

Audience Reviews for The Skeleton Key

  • Feb 22, 2013
    The twist was great, curiosity kills the cat. Quite a unique film as you never know what's going to happen. Not very well acted, but it had a decent plot and set.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jul 31, 2011
    I love New Orleans. I hate Kate Hudson. To my surprise I wasn't aware Hudson was in this. 'Skeleton Key' had a chance at being a great horror film (the gothic Orleans, the shrieking and creepy house, the premise is a nice twist on haunted house flicks) but it was predictable tantamount to watching your young kid try to arrange letters and you just want to scream 'IT'S G NEXT!". The second we hear the backstory it gives away a clue instantly and if you watch horror movies you know who is the true evil in about thirty minutes. With all the surprises drained from my viewing pleasure 'Skeleton Key' is a surprisingly, albeit overly cliche and predictable, suspenseful movie and the third act is taught and tense. Sadly, the third act and the fact it was shot in the glorious New Orleans cannot save the fact I guessed everything (accurately) in roughly thirty-minutes.
    Jonny B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 13, 2011
    Ripper of an ending but everything before it is a bore
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2011
    "The Skeleton Key" is certainly goofy and the various filters and morphing effects used to create 'creepy' images add a high level of camp, but the story itself is so interesting it helps pull the film through. The Hoodoo storyline is fun and the ending is suitably dark. The performances are serviceable with Kate Hudson delivering a believable turn. "The Skeleton Key" is rather straightforward when it comes down to it, but it has small, moody moments that make it slightly better than the rest.
    Steven C Super Reviewer

The Skeleton Key Quotes

News & Features