Reviews & Counting
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
The Skeleton Key(2005)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Iain Softley

Kate Hudson/Caroline
Gena Rowlands/Violet
John Hurt/Ben
Peter Sarsgaard/Luke
6 10
A hot chick (Hudson) gets a new job that has her caring for some old, stroked up dude (Hurt) in a dread filled Louisiana based house. She’s eventually given a skeleton key that opens all of the rooms within the pad by the old dude’s wife (Rowlands) and of course begins “exploring”. Lets just say that she doesn't find a pot of gold... should’ve gotten a job at “Popeye’s” instead (Great f*cking biscuits at that place!)!
Although far from a flawless masterpiece, The Skeleton Key kept my butt where it belonged (no not in Scarlett Johansson’ hands)… in my freaking seat! It’s been a while since Voodoo graced the genre this heavily (I know its Hoodoo in teh film but its the same thing to me). Remember The Serpent and the Rainbow, The Believers and the mother of all Voodoo cinematic gumbo Angel Heart? Ahhh…the good old days. Granted, The Skeleton Key didn’t measure up to the tight aforementioned films but it still gave me enough joo-joo to semi quench my Voodoo craving.

Magic spells, chalk lines to figure out who’s your enemy (must use this technique), eerie Southern chants, hung up chicken bones…what’s not to freaking love? I so grooved to the macabre aura of this flick which was upped in impact by the gloomy Louisiana swamp location, the spine-chilling house and the razor style-sauce that Director Softley coated his Cajun goodies with. The story itself was engaging enough (more severe bumps throughout the narrative would have been appreciated though) as I was always involved in the happenings on various levels. Then there was the seldom yet efficient scares at hand hitting the damn spot where the flick bypassed the usual bag of PG -13 “boo tricks” for a more mature/circumstantial approach. THANK YOU! The conclusion packed a wallop as well! Not only where we served a ballsy finale, but the path to get there was a tension laced and toe biting one...it had me by the "hacky-sack" and then some! The cherry on top of all this teeth decaying sugar was the presence of the lovely and talented Kate Hudson. The dame took a bland “on paper” role and turned it into a character I rooted for due to her heartfelt and layered performance. Take a bow girl! IMPORTANT NOTICE: Did you see how sizzling hot she looks without a shirt? NICE! Now that's a good looking and creamy back (I never thought I’d ever say that)! I wonder what kind of moisturizer she uses… food for thought...

Now where The Skeleton Key lost some brownie points was in its narrative structure. First of all there weren’t enough real scares spread about to fully satisfy my genre buds. I like lots of rum in my rum and coke and this one was lacking in the "piquant" department. Furthermore, the “game it was playing” was mucho obvious early on. Anybody that knows his shite or who has seen the underrated 1988 Kelly Preston chiller “Spellbinder” will pick up as to where this one is heading. And then the "twist" let me down! Now don't get me wrong, it was a groovy turn! I LOVED IT!  But since the TV Ads I saw before seeing the film kept propping the twist, I fervently looked for it at frame one and found it fairly quickly. Hence when it went down, it didn’t spank me as hard as it should’ve had since I knew what was coming. Lastly and minor; the slew of “double entendre” heavy dialogue that followed the twist grated the shite out of me. No need to water it down via mis-placed cleverness. COME ON MAN!

On the whole, The Skeleton key was a slick looking, evenly paced, well acted and fairly captivating little flick. It didn’t make me forget about Angel Heart or the dead whore in my freezer but it did the trick for now...just for now. I'm still waiting for the next GREAT Voodoo film to hit the scene! Unlock this door and bag that skeleton with all the bone you can muster!
We get a knife slit, light blood and lips/eyes being sowed shut. Not about the gore in this house in the middle of our street!
Kate Hudson (Caroline) made it all happen with her grounded, honest and layered show. Good job! Gena Rowlands (Violet) was efficient and at times scary as the oddball old lady. John Hurt (Ben) sold me as the “stroke” victim; his expressive eyes told the story they were supposed to tell. Peter Sarsgaard (Luke) had the charisma and presence to pull the part off. His New Orleans accent was a tad off in places though….nothing a Popeye’s chicken wing couldn’t have fixed!
T & A
If you lean to the left, you just might be able to catch Kate Hudson’s nipple as she takes off her shirt with her back to us. That’s 2 days of whack off material right there! Baby looks good enough to eat!
Softley plucked the rooster with both mitts through smooth camera movements, slick shots (loved the keyhole bit), a clever use of black and white and a strong handle on suspense (specially during the last block). I now OFFICIALLY forgive him for the joke that was “Hackers”.
Ed Schearmur put out a sinister and ghostly score that worked wonders for the film. We also get a couple of Techno/South ditties…I don’t know what else to call them.
As the end credits rolled, The Skeleton Key left me a somewhat satisfied genre fan. I wasn’t starting a downtown riot of joy or nothing, but I still got a polished, well acted, chilling and at times ballsy little movie. Yup, this bowl of genre chili didn’t have enough horror oomph within its first 2 blocks and was more predictable that my hooker jokes…but I had a respectable time with it nonetheless. Should you rush to the Theater and murder all in your way to see it? Nah-ha. Get it on DVD, get the nachos going, invite your better half (or a hooker) and have a swell sit down….nobody will get hurt.
Iain Softley also directed the fine Backbeat and the I hear its lousy K-Pax.

Ehren Kruger (Arlington Road, Scream 3, The Ring, The Ring 2) wrote the screenplay.

Kate Hudson is teh daughter of Goldie Hawn. Her stepdad is the great Kurt Russell and she is married to Black Crows singer Chris Robinson.

Hudson lost 60 pounds in the three months for this film. She had just given the birtht o her son Ryder.