The Skeleton Key

Theatrical Release: August 12, 2005
The Skeleton Key


In this horror/thriller, Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson) is a nursing student and a Hospice worker. After working with Hospice for a time, Caroline becomes discouraged by how little they care, so she goes out on her own. She takes on the position of a live-in nurse for a man (John Hurt) who apparently has suffered from a severe stroke and only has a short time to live. He and his wife (Gena Rowlands) live in an old plantation home outside of New Orleans. Soon after arriving, Caroline is given a skeleton key that she is told opens every door in the house. But after exploring, she finds a door in the attic that the key will not unlock. Her curiosity will not allow her to leave the mysterious room unexplored, so she keeps trying until she is able to get in. When she does, she discovers that the man may not be a victim of a stroke at all, but rather something much more diabolical.

Dove Review

I think this film should’ve used that skeleton key to unlock a formula for a good script because it is terrible. There was nothing thrilling or horrific about it, which would’ve been a great cure to my boredom. I do have to credit the movie for the interesting twist at the end, but then again, I may have seen it coming if I weren’t fighting my heavy eyelids for two hours. Lock up any desire to see this film, and throw the key away.

Everything in this film pertains to Voodoo and Hoodoo. It is full of spells, conjures, chants and potions. These elements cast away a Dove approval, and hopefully any wasted money from horror film enthusiasts. Also, don’t count on any nominations for the acting in this film- the performances were awful as well. This should be Kate Hudson’s last try at a horror flick, as she should stick to her romantic comedy genre, just as movie goers should stick to watching entertaining films.

Content Description

Faith: None
Integrity: None
Sex: Woman suggests that man is attempting to get with another woman.
Language: 4 S, 1 F, 3 J/JC, 1 GD, 2 A, 2 H, 1 D, 1 OMG
Violence: Man and woman hanged and burned (not graphic). Woman falls down stairs and breaks legs, some blood shown. Woman shot at with shotgun.
Drugs: Some alcohol and cigarette use.
Nudity: Woman shown in underwear, woman shown bareback with minor cleavage from the side.
Other: Voodoo and Hoodoo used through entire film. Spells are cast, chants used, potions, conjures.


Company: Universal Pictures
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Director: Iain Softley
Genre: Horror
Runtime: 104 min.
Starring: Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, Peter Sarsgaard, John Hurt, Joy Bryant
Reviewer: Bradley B. Klinge