Beautiful, moving film.
At first rather annoying in its heavy emphasis on reenactments, this movie ultimately proves fascinating, simply because the complicated, highly dramatic tale it tells still almost defies belief.
The movie's neither hopeful in contrived ways, nor hopeless in different contrived ways. Somehow it manages to be wonderful
Overall, this movie was good but nothing special. We've seen the narrative a hundred times. Young woman enters strange premises, strange things happen, young woman heroically investigates everything culminating in action and the supernatural. Now let's take a look at the ending.Was I expecting something better? Sometimes yes. I already guessed Hudson would be the victim, but I was also hoping all this hoodoo/voodoo nonsense was something to mess with her head to distract her from some very practical sinister evil. Scratch that. Hoodoo is real.Given that this was so far a generic horror/suspense, I was expecting Hudson to emerge victorious. The real ending is a bit better. It was more realistic. A girl from the north snooping around against her better judgment to leave and jumping at every hint of hoodoo tid- bit as 'evidence' when she in fact does not know anything about it is probably going to fail miserably. Kudos to the film for that.But what about the revelation that the perpetrators were Justify and his wife all along? That adds an element of disturbing to this flick like nothing else. Essentially the bankers lynched their own children. Is that making a statement about how it was foolish of them to resort to violence when they didn't know what they were up against? If so, that's highly objectionable. And the viewer is left with the sudden revelation that Justify and his wife were evil all along. Why is there nothing else in the movie hinting toward this? What was the point of telling us the black servants were mistreated? Would they have spared the banker's children if they weren't? They don't seem to have any qualms left about hijacking innocent women. Voodoo aside, its hard to believe they are just evil to the point of being psychopaths in that they are completely disinterested in whether their victims deserve this kind of end.
It's not just the skeleton key that opens all the doors, it is also one soul, that is able to posses all other skeletons.The Skeleton Key created a twist, by throwing the viewer off with the obvious... And I feel, it was executed sublimely.Violet was the obvious culprit. Luke, you were very suspicious of, and once your suspicions are brought to light, you feel that perhaps, you have the film figured out, until...You find out why the mirrors aren't up. Until you find out Luke's role. Until you find out, why Ben needed to leave.I'm not a big Horror fan, but, this movie feels very original. The twists are - if you didn't see them coming, eyebrows raising. The ending is... Perhaps one of the best I've seen in the genre.ONLY with the most insanely "Justifiable" script, ONLY with that... This movie could have an awesome sequel.I started off with a 6/10, in the beginning while the mystery was being set up. It wasn't moving at a pace of my liking. However, when the story shift gears, so did my rating; from 6, to 7/10.There after, the twists and the ending... Pushed me to an 8/10.For this particular genre, I feel The Skeleton Key had some meat on it's bones. It's not necessarily scary, but, it is... Neat.
First of all, it's not a horror movie. I don't get why it's classified in this genre. It's a thriller but then again it's a good thriller. One that you will watch a second time in a couple years and that you don't regret having watched it. The whole movie is about suspense and wondering what's coming next. Kate Hudson (as Caroline Ellis, the nurse) plays her role very well. Gena Rowlands (as the strange Violet Devereaux) is the other actress that carries the movie. And even though John Hurt (as Ben Devereaux) has not much lines to speak he plays his role brilliantly as well. It's one of those dark thrillers that get you from the beginning till the end. Without spoiling the story, it's certainly worth a watch. You won't regret it.
I love how the movies portray the backwoods of Louisiana to be wet, gatored-out danger zones of Voodoo, gas station dwelling creeps, and crumbling mansions — it's overtly ridiculous, but I'll be the first to admit that sometimes a little fried Southern spookiness is unbeatable. 1964's "Hush
Hush, Sweet Charlotte" emphasized madness and tangled itself up with Tennessee Williams-esque melodrama; 1981's "The Beyond" seemed to act as one big, inconceivable nightmare only cautioning Northerners to stay away from the South. Isn't it great how a setting can go from being a point of interest to a secondary character in a matter of seconds? How Gothic terror can seem slightly creepier as long as spells, potions, and psychological collapse are involved?The movie doing the Louisiana-based pigeonholing this time around is 2005's "The Skeleton Key", a shadow infused but ultimately safe horror movie that greatly depends on the star quality of Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, and John Hurt (the latter two hamming it up with the former emulating Deborah Kerr or Claire Bloom). It's passably entertaining, but there's something very been-there-done-that about it, either because of Hudson's character's unwillingness to hear out the handful of helpful hints to get out of the stereotyped Southern backwoods or because the "big reveal" is less shocking and more wince-inducing. Hudson convinces as Caroline Ellis, a young caretaker hired to serve the dying Ben Deveraux (Hurt). The victim of a crippling stroke, Ben cannot move or speak, but something in the air suggests that something other than mere bad health was responsible. The Deveraux household, it seems, has a long history, a history involving death, Hoodoo (not Voodoo), and other supernatural occurrences. Most, in their good senses, would get as far away from possible from the eerie, decaying mansion. Not Violet. Despite the fact that the matriarch of the home, Violet (Rowlands), is a suspicious figure, despite the fact that Caroline's skeleton key opens everything in the house besides a shady room in the attic, despite the fact that locals warn her that the Deveraux estate is not one to be trusted, she goes out of her way to not only commit to job, but also to solve the mystery that surrounds her new job. Tsk tsk.The biggest problem with "The Skeleton Key" lies in the fact that most people with common sense would leave its ghastly backwood setting in a hasty sprint — Caroline, on the other hand, figures it would be best to put her life on the line for the sake of curiosity. But curiosity kills cats, and "The Skeleton Key" works on a premise we never quite believe. There's no way someone in Caroline's position would stay as long as she does. I wouldn't. And as the film spirals into a disturbing ending that puts its lead heroine in grave danger, we aren't thrilled, rather smirking that this wouldn't have happened if she would have just let her intuition shut up for a second.But "The Skeleton Key" is made with a great deal of competence, and that, that, I can admire. It's B-movie material, but because Softley pretends it's better than it is, scares do make their way onto the scene and are delivered effectively. The mansion is a perfect balance of Gothic chilliness and candlelit spooks, seemingly gorgeous by day; the way Hurt's silent performance is completely made of unfiltered dread only awakens our own. And Rowlands, chewing the scenery like a "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?" era Bette Davis, is a deliciously theatrical villain. I just wish "The Skeleton Key" was more original; while well-made, it's nothing we haven't seen before.