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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 4 October 2005
When I started watching this film I couldn't figure out what it was going to be about. It starts off with Kate Hudson working in a hospice. She gets sick of the job and decides to find a new one. She then finds a job in the paper which is looking after an elderly man who has had a stroke. She moves to the mansion to start work. This is when the suspence begins. I can't tell you much from now as it spoils the film but it keeps you thinking all the way to the end. Totally unexpected ending. It has a few edgey scenes but it's the story that grips you and keeps you watching. Not a blood and guts horror but very good if you like a film that keeps you thinking. Definaltely one to add to your Dvd collection. You won't be dissapointed!!
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on 1 February 2006
I wasn't sure what to expect when I watched The skeleton key. I rented it after seeing a couple of trailers as it looked quite a good thriller. I wasn't disappointed either, this is a good thriller with a good twist!
A healthcare nurse for the elderly decides that the old peoples home isn't for her and would rather give one to one care. She takes a job living with an old couple to help look after the terminally ill man. However the house has a dark past and all is not as it seems!
It's not really scary, but it has a few suspenseful moments as Kate Hudson wanders about the house at night in her underwear investigating strange noises and shadows. It's well acted and the story is good but many will see the end coming long before. Overall good fun for a nights entertainment, especially if you enjoyed the likes of Secret window, What lies beneath etc, with plenty of DVD extras as well! 7/10
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on 2 December 2005
I have just recently rented this film for something to watch, not buying it first incase i didn't like it. But after finishing this film i was very pleasantly surprised as i rented this as a horror which didn't look scary, and found myself with more of a thriller, which was, for lack or a better word - chilling.
The film is based around Caroline (Kate Hudson) who, sick of the job she is in (due to people's lack of caring) takes a job in a large mansion looking after an elderly man who has suffered from a stroke and is paralysed. She is given (skeleton) key which will open every door in the house by the man's wife, who to Caroline seems quite strange as she allows no mirrors in the house. Caroline gets on with her work but it is only when she discovers a secret room in the attic (which the key won't open) and forces her way in that room and finds many objects relating to 'HooDoo' (am ancient magic) that the mystery deepin's. As she becomes more and more involved with the strange house and the mystery that lies within, and delves further into the HooDoo magic that a series of shocking events take place and lead to a shocking climax (that i never even guessed) which leaves the viewer in shock but satisfied as the film ties itself up nicely.
The acting in this film is superb with Kate's performance flawless and extremely believable. The settings are few but effective and the house is the perfect setting for this chilling tale.
I can't comment on the features for this DVD as it was a rental and i never had time to watch them but going but what it says on the packet, they seem really good for a single disc DVD.
This is definatly one i'm going to buy as it's one i could see me watching over and over and i'm sure alot of people will feel the same. So i recommend this if you are looking for a film that keeps you guessing right through till the end without being a total gore-fest.
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VINE VOICEon 15 March 2006
"The Skeleton Key" is an enjoyable thriller , well acted and filmed ,with a chilling plot based around the "hoodoo" witchcraft of Louisiana. Kate Hudson's serious minded character isn't one much for smiling at the best of times , but after she takes up a new job as a nurse for a dying man in an old house outside New Orleans , there is even less reason for her to smile as a series of discoveries and disturbing events lead her unexpectedly into the dangerous world of the occult.The tension and suspense escalates steadily and there is an exciting finale with a neat twist at the end. There is a fair amount of depth to the "The Skeleton Key" ,with the "hoodoo" backdrop providing most of it and the characters and dialogue were credible. Definitely one of the better horror/thrillers I have seen lately.
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on 3 April 2006
At first, this film was building up to be a lame horror. A dull story about a nurse having to look after a stroke victim. A plodding plot, with no scares and uninteresting characters only barely passing the acting grade.
But to unlock this film's real treasure, you need to give it the time of day, as it comes with one genuine sucker punch of an ending. For a long time a movie's "twist" has been obvious, or just rubbish. It's been ages since I saw a movie that genuinely shocked me come the ending, and was actually pretty decent and made me glad I had watched through that dull hour and 20 minutes.
But the film doesn't offer much more than that, although that is worth watching the movie for. It's not remotely scary, the acting is slightly hammy, and it's just far too plain for far too long. But, as I've said, come the end, I didn't mind.
Extras wise, although bountiful, they don't fit the mood of the film. Whereas the film has long shots, and moves at snail pace, the extras are like MTV documentarys - very fast moving, fast cuts and edits and shaky, abstract camera work.
Still, the extras are quite good, particularly a recipe for making gumbo. Kate Hudson's ghost story is a little lame, but the making ofs are interesting and show behind the scenes.
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on 23 January 2007
Horrow can be puerile "look how nasty we are" or it can use suspense, ideas and a good story. The strength here is that there is a great central concept which only becomes apparent at the end, giving the plot a 'twist' effect. The plot is interesting along the way, and the script holds a good balance between giving clues and concealing the suprise - in other words there's some consistency.

It is genuinely creepy and the suspense is good. The central themes are voodoo and a young care worker stumbling on some odd situations which leads her to try to get to the bottom of it all.

Extras were limited and I would have liked to have seen more of the research and findings on real voodoo and less of the fillers.

Good story done professionally and good entertainment. Suspenseful more than shocking and gross, and made me think about whether it really could happen.
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on 11 January 2006
As a horror movie junkie jaded by too many movies that use gore and blood instead of suspense, I was as pleasantly surprised by this movie as I was by The Ring and The Grudge - especially an ending that was neither predictable nor "Hollywood". The pace of suspense is generally well-kept, and you are given just enough clues to keep your sense of foreboding up but not to give too much away. My only complaint is that Kate Hudson, while generally doing a good job, could probably have been replaced by a better suspense actress.
The DVD has loads of extras, some not as promising as the titles indicate (like Kate Hudson's ghost story) but generally interesting. The background info on voodoo/hoodoo, plantation life and slavery etc were quite interesting. And there's a gumbo recipe!
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on 3 August 2013
The Skeleton Key is a supernatural thriller, rather than a horror film, and it is based deep in Louisiana. Care nurse Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson), disaffected with her employer’s indifferent attitude towards its patients, seeks alternative care work and finds herself newly employed at the backwater plantation home of Violet (Gena Rowlands) and her invalid husband Ben (John Hurt), who's been rendered mute and seemingly helpless by a recent stroke. As the plot slowly develops, Caroline discovers that sinister powers are at play involving hoodoo, an Afro-Caribbean magic or witchcraft. The story that follows is essentially her attempt to rescue Ben; it has several twists and turns and is quite complex but, as other reviewers say, the ending is unexpected.

What makes this film so enjoyable is that the supernatural elements are not overplayed; in fact they are introduced with considerable subtlety, so that the viewer, initially sceptical, is unconsciously drawn in along with Caroline to start believing in the effects of hoodoo. The gramophone record with the ‘conjure of sacrifice’ track is particularly effective in adding to the atmosphere and suspense. Definitely a film for those who appreciate a more cerebral thriller experience.
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on 11 February 2006
Like in another review, this isn't really a horror, more of a Chilling Thriller.
The film is quite deep, you must watch it all the way through and maybe watch it again to actually understand it.
Well written and directed. However, again I must go back to another review...I think the cast could of been re-thought.
Worth watching definately, good to watch in a group rather than on your own.............*spooky* lol
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on 29 December 2012
This film gets off to a slow start but once the story picks up it is excellent. Kate Hudson plays Caroline, a young hospice nurse who really cares about her patient's well being. Looking for more career fulfillment she agrees to take a job nursing an elderly man, Ben played brilliantly by John Hurt, who has recently suffered a devastating stroke. Hurt really conveys Ben's feelings of helplesness and fear. Gina Rowlands plays Violet Devereaux a life-long Southerner with a suspiscion of strangers. Hudson gives a terrific and convincing performance. Caroline is a gutsy woman who won't abandon her patient under any circumstances. The story is set in New Orleans and Caroline soon learns more about the gruesome history of the huge house in which she is living. There is one room in the house which Violet Devereaux declares out of bounds but Caroline is curious and determined to find out more. Evey encounter with a stranger seems charged with tension and menace and I couldn't help wishing she would just drive back to New Jersey. The pace of the film realy picks up working towards a surprising and unsettling conclusion. I thought that I had worked out the twist in the tale but I was wrong.
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