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Deep in the marshes and bayous of southern Louisiana, a little-known culture of strange rites and rituals has existed for generations. For those secure in their skepticism, these practices are easily dismissed as colorful superstition, borne from a crucible of influences from Africa, France, the Caribbean and Spain. But for those who cross the dark threshold into belief, these forces of good and evil are tangible, powerful…even deadly. For once you believe, everything you fear becomes real.
PROFANITY: 1 F-word, 3 S-words, 1 GD, a few others. SEX/NUDITY: Partial breast exposure in a non-sexual context. VIOLENCE: Lynchings, burnings, fights. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Frequent tobacco and alcohol. ACTION: Foot chases and fights. COMEDY: None.
The above rating is an average of the critic reviews below.
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Berardinelli, Internet CriticFull Review Above Average The Skeleton Key delivers its share of cheap scares but never unlocks the door to the creepiness that would have made this is memorable movie-going experience.
Roger EbertFull Review Above Average 'The Skeleton Key' is one of those movies that explains too much while it is explaining too little, and leaves us with a surprise at the end that makes more sense the less we think about it. But the movie's mastery of technique makes up for a lot.
USA TodayFull Review Above Average If believable thrills and chills are what you're after, The Skeleton Key provides only the bare bones.
Note: The rating
above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
their review. We are not affiliated with these critic's in any way.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
We collected 168 moviegoer opinions. As with nearly all movies of this type (supernatural/horror) the opinions are very mixed. A few rated it extremely high and a few rated it extremely low. The middle opinions were also pretty well spread across the spectrum. Opinions like these make it impossible to tell you if you are likely to enjoy this movie. All I can say is good luck in your decision.
Strong-minded Caroline Ellis (KATE HUDSON) is a driven young woman with no time for local tales of witchcraft and black magic. The young hospice worker is determined to make enough money to attend nursing school,
even if it means taking a job as a live-in caretaker for the elderly owner of an isolated plantation house an hour's drive outside of New Orleans, deep in the atmospheric Louisiana delta renowned for the locals' mystical practices and powerful ceremonies.
The decrepit Terrebonne Parish mansion is home to born-and-bred Southerners Violet and Ben Devereaux (GENA ROWLANDS and JOHN HURT) and both the house and its occupants seem weighted with somber histories. But for Caroline, the setting is unimportant—she's there to do her job, caring for Ben after a stroke has left him nearly paralyzed and mute.
To make maneuvering throughout the large home an easier task, Violet entrusts the new live-in with a skeleton key that unlocks every door…including one that Caroline discovers obscured by a bookcase at the back of the house's attic. Seemingly forgotten, the room holds an intriguing mix of antiques, mirrors oddly banished from the rooms below and artifacts apparently connected to the practice of a strange kind of magic—a folk magic that conflicts directly with Caroline's common sense and pragmatic way of thinking.
And yet, small instances of the unexplainable begin to occur. The mansion—and the strange couple who inhabit it—are rife with secrets. The more Caroline explores, the deeper she is drawn into a darkening mystery in the attic room at the very heart of the house…towards a terrifying and sinister legacy that threatens to take vengeance on anyone who comes to believe in its power.
As Caroline begins to question her own convictions, she comes ever closer to opening the door and crossing the threshold to where simple belief becomes deadly reality.