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UKScreen Rating:

Skeleton Key – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Set deep in the south, near New Orleans, hospice worker Caroline Ellis (Hudson) takes on the job of live-in caretaker for the elderly owner (Hurt) of an isolated plantation house who has suffered a stroke.
She is given a skeleton key by his wife, Violet, (Rowlands) which gives her access to every room in the house including one that is hidden behind a bookcase in the back of the attic.
Caroline doesn’t believe in witchcraft or black magic but following a series of spooky events at the house she slowly opens up to the idea and that’s when things turn nasty.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

This is a supernatural thriller by numbers from the writer of The Ring and the director of K-Pax. There’s the obligatory creepy house in the middle of nowhere with a deadly history, a dodgy old couple, a mysterious, locked attic and of course black magic or rather Hoodoo, not to be confused with Voodoo; the latter is a religion the former is witchcraft.
Gena Rowlands is excellent as the sinister elderly wife while John Hurt spends most of the film grunting as he is unable to talk due to a supposed stroke that’s left him nearly paralyzed and mute. Kate Hudson gives a solid enough performance while Peter Sarsgaard is wasted as guess what? Yes the villain. There are enough red herrings and bump-in-the-night-type moments to keep you watching. However it is the final twist that saves this film from supernatural hell. It’s guaranteed to give you brain ache as you work out the meaning of what you have been watching for the past hour and a half.
Frankly it’s a lot of Hoodoo.

SKELETON KEY opens on 29 July 2005

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