HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Last Picture Show, The
Pathfinder
Skatetown, USA
Donbass
He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not
Mary Poppins Returns
Beyond the Sky
Sorry to Bother You
Last Days, The
Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The
Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story
Once Upon a Time in London
King Lear
Under the Silver Lake
Satan's Mistress
Border
Lemonade Joe
Earth Maiden Arjuna
Sons of Katie Elder, The
Soldier, The
Mr. Topaze
Aquaman
One, Two, Three
Bad Times at the El Royale
Caretaker, The
Old Man and the Gun, The
Song of Bernadette, The
Creed II
Anna and the Apocalypse
Return of the Hero
White Reindeer, The
Lizzie
Wicked, Wicked
Faces Places
Strange Woman, The
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Sky Bandits
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Devil's Sword, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
   
 
  Skeleton Key, The There’s Somebody At The Door  Buy this film here.
Year: 2005
Director: Iain Softley
Stars: Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard, Joy Bryant, Ronald McCall, Jeryl Prescott, Isaach De Bankolé
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rating:  8 (from 3 votes)
Review: Caroline, a hospice employee, has had enough of the uncaring environment she works in and responds to an advert for a live in nurse that sounds ideal. The job involves looking after Ben Devereaux, an old man who has been incapacitated by a stroke, unable to communicate with the outside world. Despite his wife Violet’s initial reluctance Caroline soon finds herself moving into their creepy abode in the Louisiana swamplands. It is not long before the strange secrets of the house incite her curiosity and, with the Skeleton Key in hand, she ventures to the mysterious attic room. A course of action that will set her on the path to unravel the mystery of Ben’s condition.

British director Iain Softley’s fifth film is thankfully a move away from the stereotypical Hollywood horror movies which are predominantly lazy variations on slasher films full of attractive teenagers running away from knife wielding masked maniacs. Ehren Kruger’s evocative screenplay is aimed at a more mature audience, an attempted return to more intelligent horror movies such as Don’t Look Now and Rosemary’s Baby to which this film has some superficial similarities. The slow revelations about the history of the house leads to a wonderful climax and the cast are in tune with the intention of the filmmakers.

Kate Hudson gives a self-assured and unstereotypical performance as Caroline; a strong willed woman who has a believable back-story that informs her decisions throughout the film. Her relationship and dedication to Ben’s welfare is particularly well handled, assisted by John Hurt’s strong performance given the limitations the role puts upon him. Gena Rowlands also deserves particular praise for her ambiguous interpretation of Ben’s wife Violet. Joy Bryant in the role of Caroline’s best friend is one of the few genre conceits, basically only on hand to offer some helpful exposition on the mystical cult of Hoodoo.

What lets the film down slightly is Iain Softley’s direction. Undeniably skilled at creating a believable environment and a suitably subtle tone he fails to adequately build the tension, things only really coming together in the final act. The gothic south with its mysterious hoodoo practices, foreboding swamps and gothic domiciles are never portrayed as effectively as they could have been. In fairness there are a few moments in which a palpable sense of dread is created, but the audience should have been kept on the edge of their seat a bit more. The mix of colour and black and white film for the flashbacks doesn’t really work either. On the plus side the score, including such Mississippi delta bluesmen as the legendary Robert Johnson, helps in evoking an authentic sense of place.

The Skeleton Key certainly won’t be a contender for finest film of 2005 but it’s far better than the usual Hollywood horror fare, which seems to now rely on uninspired remakes of Asian chillers. Indeed by rooting the tale in the milieu of the Deep South Softley and screenwriter Kruger have consciously attempted to create a uniquely American ghost story. The cast are uniformly excellent and, as with the best of supernatural thrillers the finale lingers long in the memory after the credits roll.
Reviewer: Jason Cook

 

This review has been viewed 5018 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: