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on June 11, 2006
Twenty-five-year-old Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson), a Southern transplant from Hoboken, New Jersey, has a job as a hospice worker in New Orleans, Louisiana. After a certain patient dies, and she discovers that his family does not want to have anything to do with him or his possessions, Caroline decides that it is time to quit her job at the hospice. Seeking out a job where she can actually help people more, Caroline sees an advertisement in the newspaper for a full-time, live-in caretaker for an elderly man---a stroke patient---living in Terrebonne Parish, in the bayous of Louisiana.

Caroline drives out to Terrebonne Parish and comes to a fancy yet very old Southern mansion estate home, slightly falling into somewhat disrepair. At the house, Caroline meets Violet Devereaux (Gena Rowlands) and her husband, Ben (John Hurt), whom Caroline will be taking care of. She also meets Luke Marshall (Peter Sarsgard), the Devereauxs' lawyer, who handles the family's medical affairs and updates their wills. While Violet immediately rejects Caroline, Luke reassures her that she will get the care-taking job. And indeed she does.

Though Caroline may later regret her decision...

Out in Terrebonne Parrish, in the swampy and tropical bayous of Louisiana, voodoo runs rampant, as well as hoodoo, an ancient form of magic---though hoodoo only works if you believe it will work. Caroline, with the use of her skeleton key given by Violet, which can open any and all doors in the house makes the gruesome discovery of a secret room in the attic, full of bizarre records and instructions for conjurations, kept by two people, by the names of Mama Cecile and Papa Justify.

Can Caroline find out why Ben really did have a stroke up in the attic? Why does Violet seem so tense, anxious, and jumpy in the house often? Why are there no mirrors allowed to hang up anywhere in the house? Is hoodoo actually real, or only if you just believe? Who were Mama Cecile and Papa Justify, and what did they do to earn such a horrible death, as they did ninety years ago?

While I would certainly not consider this to be my favorite horror movie---and I will admit it does use a few "cheap thrills" with large explosions of sound from the movie's soundtrack---this is still a fascinating movie concerning voodoo, and more importantly, hoodoo; you will probably not come across many voodoo movies in the bayous as good as this one very often, except for perhaps The Serpent and the Rainbow. Kate Hudson does an excellent job here, as does Gena Rowlands---she shines the most here---and John Hurt's surprisingly well-done feat of portraying a frightened mute man. Kate Hudson's stray away from comedy movies is definitely a turn for the better. The very intelligent twist at the end is a special treat for watchers.

Highly recommended!
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on August 18, 2007
this is a pretty good,old fashioned style ghost's genuinely
creepy and eerie,with great performances all round.Kate Hudson is in
this one,along with the great Gena Rowlands,John Hurt and Peter basically involves an old house on a plantation,a woman
who answers an ad to look after an elderly woman's frail,stroke
affected husband in said house and some deep dark secrets.throw in some
mysticism and some "guests"and you have the ingredients for a real
chiller.if you're into ghosts stories with a twist,this might be your
movie.there's couple of twists,and some of them are unexpected.this
isn't a real action packed movie(though there is a bit of that
here)it's more psychological,but just as entertaining.i don't think you
could go wrong with this movie.for me,"The Skeleton Key" is a strong
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on February 21, 2013
Not what i expected...Great movie it all about hoo doo..the ending was unexpected in a good way...I wish the other movie was related to it..that is why i bought it...but no it's not related to it at all...We actually thought they put the wrong movie in the case lol
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on June 28, 2006
"It's like, hypnotism, right? Suggestion? And when this stuff works, its because someone believes it works?... And if you thought, you know, that magic made you sick... you might believe in a magic cure? " so says Caroline Ellis, the young Hospice worker,played by Kate Hudson.

Hoodoo (Not Voodoo, it's different. Hoodoo is an old African American magic that only works if you believe in it.) is at play in this southern thriller. Who knew from Voodoo? Caroline Ellis,(Kate Hudson) is a hospice worker who has thought about nursing school and who takes a job as a live-in caretaker in a sinister, decrepit plantation house located deep in the Louisiana Delta. This is a movie that purveys the darkness of the delta within the spectacular views of New Orleans before Katrina. Brings back memories to all of us. Caroline gradually discovers that nothing is as it first seemed, the old man is being held prisoner against his will, the house is possessed by voodoo spirits, and she may be trapped by their evil spell. Gena Rolwands plays Violet Devereaux. She inches her character ever closer to going over the top before reining her back in at the last moment. We believe that she is evil personified. Her husband, Ben Devereaux, is played by John Hurt. He has suffered a stroke and cannot speak or move. He is able to convey via his eyes the menacing horrow that is his, and Caroline Ellis is bound to save him. His acting via his eyes and facial expression is superb. Kate Hudson does a memorable job of playing this role, and her talent for acting is noted. This is a thriller that kept my interest. I was not prepared for the shocking ending, but was not surprised. This is not a movie that would have a so-so ending. This is one of the better thrillers in a while, and is certainly worth your time. The views of New Orleans before the Storm are worth viewing the entire movie and is more that worth your time.

This is a movie of characterization, IMO. Each character brings the suspense and moodiness that is needed to sustain the movie. Gena Rowlands, as always steals the scenes but John Hurt and Kate Hudson more than keep up their end. Voodoo/Hoodoo, all the same, brings the magic to this movie. Do you believe?

Recommended. prisrob 6/27/06
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 26, 2006
Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson) is a hospice caregiver living in New Orleans. She still feels guilty for letting her father die alone. She feels that the xxx is just a money factory and sets out to find someone that she can really take care of at the ending g time of his/her life.

An opportunity arises in an old mansion located in the swamps of Louisiana. There Mr. Ben Devereaux (John Hurt) has had a stroke and only a few months to live. Mrs. Violet Devereaux (Gena Rowlands) does not want Caroline to be there but is convinced by her estate lawyer to keep Caroline on.

Soon Caroline is given a skeleton key that opens every door in the house. However she finds that a hidden door in the attic does not open. Ben had his debilitating stroke in the attic and Violet seems suspicious so Caroline turns to the estate lawyer Luke (Peter Sarsgaard) with her suspicions.

Will Caroline be a good girl and just leave Ben while he is dying?

Will Caroline get to nosy for her own good and try to open the hidden door?

Are Caroline's suspicions founded or is she just being melodramatic?

This movie is just jam packed with great actors. After you get over how Kate Hudson looks like her mother and her miraculous recovery from her recent pregnancy, you realize that you are watching the movie and the character of Caroline. And hoe did John Hurt make it through the whole movie and you did not notes that he did not say anything except a one liner" Ca-ro-Line! Help me!"? We get our first ominous warning from Jill (Joy Bryant) whose character gives the original feel of normalcy to the story. The whole film is glued together and hinges on the character of Violet played to the hilt by Gena Rowlands.

If you like this maybe it is and maybe it isn't type of story then you need to watch a movie based on "Conjure Wife" by Fritz Leiber. His story has the same feel "Night of The Eagle, aka Burn Witch Burn" (1962) with Peter Wyngarde as Norman, and Janet Bliar as Tansy.
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on January 29, 2013
Fantastic movie, great story, suspense all round. Its the perfect movie to watch on a rainy night, lights off and a nice glass of wine
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on December 9, 2005
Great movie. I loved it. It's about a woman named Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson) who works at a hospital as a nurse but quits and gets a job in the swamps in New Orleans as a hospice worker. Caroline takes the job and goes to the house. (Note: The reason Caroline likes taking care of people is because her dad and her had a strained relationship after her mom left them and she was a rock n roll manager when her dad died. Caroline didn't take care of him and now feels guilty about it but likes taking care of old people). Caroline meets Violet Deveraux, the wife of the man she's taking care of, Ben Deveraux. Violet is mean to Caroline. Ben can't walk or talk. Violet gives Caroline a skeleton key, which will open every door in her humongous house. Caroline, with the help of the skeleton key, starts to unravel the mystery of why Violet is so mean to Caroline, why Ben can't walk or talk and the whole movie involves voodoo/hoodoo.
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on August 20, 2016
If you love horror movies, you'll love this one for sure! A health care worker decides she can't provide the kind of care to her patients she wants to provide within the cold confines of the nursing home she's working in. She opts then to take a job caring for the husband of a very strange woman in their even stranger home. She soon discovers that this couple seemingly has a strong belief in hoodoo (a variant of voodoo), and as she investigates further the ailment afflicting her new patient, and the disturbing behavior of his wife, a series of terrifying events unfold. Great plot twists, and an unexpectedly original surprise ending. Highly recommended!
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on July 29, 2015
Excellent movie! Very creepy. A horror gem. I will give you none of the plot here in my review, but can definitely say, that if you love horror movies, you'll love this one for sure! Really cool ending.
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on January 15, 2011
There are some films that are a pleasant surprise, and The Skeleton Key is one of them. I have to admit that I viewed this film with some skepticism, simply because I hadn't heard much buzz about it and I had difficulty envisioning Kate Hudson in such a film. In fact, not only was it nice to see Kate Hudson in a non-comedic role for a change, but she actually is very good in this supernatural thriller.

Director Iain Softley does a fine job of taking an interesting ghost story and merging it with the Southern Gothic of the Louisiana bayou and the legends and myths surrounding New Orleans Voodooism. Like any ghost story in a movie, the viewer has to accept certain nonsense premises to make it work, but if the viewer does so this film delivers great entertainment. The Skeleton Key makes it easy to accept these premises, making it an exceptional supernatural thriller.

Gena Rowlands almost steals this movie with her performance. She plays an old hag from hell that just reeks of evil. The film has a very well constructed story that also does a good job at developing a character profile of the Kate Hudson character that fits well into the story.

If you are looking for a great ghost movie or supernatural thriller to view, this film delivers in spades.
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