Sunday, October 30, 2011

Screaming Sunday: Skeleton Key

By s. Sunday, October 30, 2011 ,
Plot: A hospice nurse working at a spooky New Orleans plantation home finds herself entangled in a mystery involving the house's dark past.
The heroes: Young nurse who works as a caregiver. Although strong and seemingly cold, Caroline is one of those horror movie likable but also tough heroines who aren't dumb and will do everything they have to do to survive. Kate Hudson who does mostly romantic comedies, delivers very good performance and one can only hope she will appear in serious material more often.
The antagonists: The spirits of voodoo practitioners trying to go back into the world of the living.
What makes it so great? "Skeleton Key" is one of my all time favorite horror films - it has this dark, magical ambiance that was seen for the last time in "Angel Heart". Voodoo, rituals, creepy attics, rain, ghosts, really can't get any better than this. There is only a handful of good movies set in fascinating Louisiana and this is one of them. Plus Gena Rowlands' performance as Caroline's mysterious employer is honestly one of the most magnetic you'll ever see in a horror movie.
Best scene: The final ritual scene.
Oh-oh something's not right line: "The key you gave me for the house. There is a door in the attic it doesn't work for"
Morbid trivia: At the opening of the film, the book that Caroline is reading to the hospice patient is Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island." Toward the beginning of that work, Jim Hawkins is caring for the elderly Billy Bones after the man has a stroke. Caroline begins her ordeal in the same way: taking care of the elderly Ben Devereaux post-stroke.
Scare factor: 3/5 - There are few good jump scares, but the movie is more creepy and atmospheric than scary. It also has quite disturbing nightmare/flashback sequences. In other words - good stuff!
Gore factor: 1/5 -Various voodoo paraphernalia and few bloody injuries. Also disturbing images of sewn up lips and eyes. The kind of things that won't make you jump and cover your eyes but may cause some trippy bad dreams.
Is there a twist? Oh yes there is. And then the chilling ending follows.
Hint: Watch it in the dark room with a lot candles around you. And have some salt and brick powder ready, just in case.
Unsuitable for: People who have creepy elder lady neighbors or landladies.
Repercussions: Fear of exploring attics.
Voodoo ritual towards the end of the movie.


  1. Excellent post, glad to see this movie getting some praise. It has always been underrated in my book.

    1. It's very underrated. A shame, it's one of the better recent horror films.