The Skeleton Key

  • 15
  • Iain Softley (2005)
  • US
  • 99 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

A decrepit Louisiana mansion holds terrifying secrets in this flimsy yet effective slice of southern gothic horror. Kate Hudson plays a live-in nurse who's hired by elderly Gena Rowlands to look after her ailing husband (an underused John Hurt). But after discovering a hidden attic room crammed with hoodoo paraphernalia, the inquisitive carer soon realises that all is not what it seems in the foreboding house. Scripted by Ehren Kruger, writer of the US version of The Ring, it's a weakly plotted but hugely atmospheric supernatural thriller. Not a lot happens for the first two thirds, as K-PAX director Iain Softley concentrates on ambience over action. While the performances are good, with Rowlands in particular carrying off her mysterious matriarch role with creepy aplomb, it's this slow-burning mix of mood and tension that carries the picture. The payoff for all the meticulous scene-setting is a dark and exciting finale, which isn't as obvious as it initially appears.

Plot Summary

Supernatural thriller, starring Kate Hudson. Live-in nurse Caroline takes a position in a decrepit mansion to care for the ailing husband of the mysterious Violet Devereaux. Intrigued by the secretive couple, she begins to explore the house but her snooping takes a sinister turn when she stumbles upon a hidden attic room that holds a deadly secret.

Cast and crew

Cast

Caroline
Kate Hudson
Violet
Gena Rowlands
Ben
John Hurt
Luke
Peter Sarsgaard
Jill
Joy Bryant

Crew

Director
Iain Softley

Other Information

Language: 
English
Colour
Theatrical distributor: 
UIP
Guidance: 
May be edited for violence.
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 29 Jul 2005
Certificate 15
Distributor:
Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd
Categories
Drama