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Running Time:
1 hour 44 minutes

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for violence, disturbing images, some partial nudity and thematic material

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
An old-fashioned supernatural thriller that's more spooky than scary, but it's well-acted, skillfully plotted and slightly different from the usual haunted-house sagas.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Kate Hudson's Ghost story; Exploring Voodoo/Hoodoo; Behind the Locked Door - Making The Skeleton Key; Blues in the Bayou; Audio commentary with director Iain Softley; And much more!

The Skeleton Key
Kate Hudson plays Caroline, a nurse who has become disillusioned with the medical profession feeling it's just a business not a service, so she applies for a position as a live-in home care giver. She arrives at a rundown mansion in the Louisiana swamps where Violet (Gena Rowlands "The Notebook") needs help with her ailing husband Ben (John Hurt "The Elephant Man, who is almost completely paralysed and unable to speak following a stroke. Basically Caroline is there to help him die, something she feels she has to do to ease her guilt over not being able to care for her own recently deceased father. Violet gives her a skeleton key that will open every door in the house and, between the creaky old place and the hoodoo that permeates the bayou, it's not long before Caroline is convinced that not only is there more to Ben's illness than meets the eye, but that the answer lies in one of the house's many rooms. But why does the skeleton key not open a door in the attic? Peter Sarsgaard portrays Luke, a local attorney working on the couple's estate, and Joy Bryant plays Jill, Caroline's best friend. This old fashioned ghost story has an intriguing and reasonably original plot that, while entertaining enough, is far from a classic. Kate Hudson is perky and feisty and able to hold her own against the imperious Rowlands, who invests her doughty southern lady with spirit and guile in even the smallest gesture. But Hurt is totally wasted in a thankless, wordless role. The Skeleton Key may be a marked improvement on some of the incredibly dumb recent horror films, but the abysmal finale is just plain bewildering.

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