Thursday, August 18, 2005


The Skeleton Key

The Skeleton Key

I must admit I do like this sort of movie. For whatever reason, spooky, ghosty, creepy type films are really enjoyable to me. Maybe because I always wonder if there really are such things as ghosts. Not that this movie proves it or anything, but I am very willing to suspend my disbelief. Sometimes, as in the case of Land of the Dead, even my willingness isn't enough. In the case of The Skeleton Key, it was more than enough.

Kate Hudson plays Caroline, a home care nurse who goes to a spooky house out in the Louisiana bayous to care for poor old Ben Deveraux. Ben has suffered from a stroke, leaving him unable to communicate, and near death. Except that we get glimpses from time to time that there might be a thinking brain trapped in his body. Caroline sees it too, and really wants to help Ben, especially because she has some father issues of her own. While five previous nurses were too creeped out to continue working there, this father fixation keeps Caroline around and determined to save Ben.

Caroline begins to suspect something weird is going on. She gets a skeleton key that opens all the doors in the house, but while snooping around, she discovers one door in the attic that it won't open. Of course, she's going to get it open eventually, and creepy stuff happens involving voodoo witch doctor type stuff. She finds the typical jars of all sorts of strange, exotic spell components, along with old records (not files, the actual records that play on record players) that contain recordings of various spells.

Caroline visits a . . . well I'm not sure what to call a lady who sells potions and reads fortunes and stuff like that, but Caroline visits her and learns a spell that will help unbewitch old Ben. She also goes with the family lawyer to visit some old lady and asks her about a certain record Caroline found in the attic. It has a very powerful spell, and the mention of it really freaks out the old lady.

Turns out the attic room belonged to Papa Justice and his wife Cecile, who were servants of the white family who owned the house in the early 1900's. Armed with her new knowledge, Caroline goes back to save Ben. But that's enough of that.

John Hurt did an excellent job as Ben. I don't mean to sound cruel, but if you've ever had a conversation with a stutterer, and you've found yourself almost compelled to try and finish his sentences, you get an idea of what it felt like to watch Hurt struggling to explain his plight to Caroline. I was right there on the edge, desperate to hear what he had to say, even if it was just a movie. Gena Rowlands played his wife Violet. I'm not familiar with her other work, but she did well here, conveying a certain innocence and weirdness that drew me in as much as it did Caroline, who was ably portrayed by Kate Hudson.

I really enjoyed this movie. It was not a slasher type flick, and had minimal gore. In fact, once it was over, I left thinking it wasn't as scary as I had expected based on the commercials. It did only get a PG-13 rating, which seems about right. Most teens could see this movie without being bothered much by it. What fear there was was mainly built up in the mind of the viewer. Perhaps it might be better classified as a thriller, rather than as a horror movie. And that ending! All I can say is I'd really love to hear from other people what they thought of the it. Miss Tori and I both thought it ended very well, even if it did catch us by surprise.

Actual Update: If you came over from Nehring the Edge, thanks for stopping by. Believe it or not, I just saw Four Brothers, and the practically only available on the internet Blowing Smoke. Brothers review will be next, cause I still need some time to collect my thoughts from Blowing Smoke. And if you didn't come over from Nehring the Edge, go there now and see what a quality, knowledgeable review looks like.
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