The Skeleton Key

I’m getting old. I just don’t have it in me anymore. I used to be able to go see creepy movies and enjoy them. Now…I’m literally on the edge of my seat, cringing from the screen. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good scare – but sometimes I don’t know if my heart can take it! The suspense of The Skeleton Key absolutely killed me. I don’t know if that’s a testament to how good the movie is or a reflection of how soft I’ve become. While watching, I had to remind myself that the movie is PG-13, so how scary could it be? Enough rambling, let me tell you what the movie is about.

Kate Hudson (Almost Famous, How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days) stars as Caroline, an aspiring nurse who accepts a position as live-in caretaker for a dying elderly man, deep in the Louisiana bayou. I found myself resisting the urge to yell out, “Stop! Don’t go in there!” Unless you were born yesterday, you know that in order for spooky movies like Skeleton to chug along, our heroine must be doggedly curious and meddlesome – just like those rascally Scooby Doo kids. So when we see Caroline persistently poking around in the attic despite being warned not to do so, we have to just sit back and accept this plot device for what it is: a means to an end. Caroline was hired by the old man’s wife to care for him after a stroke. She’s the third or fourth caregiver to quit: shouldn’t that clue her in to something? The man’s wife claims he had a stroke, but Caroline grows suspicious as she learns the history of the house. Let’s just say the previous inhabitants met with a rather unfortunate demise. I don’t want to give away too much, but there are references to voodoo, hoodoo, spirits and the like. Unsettling and atmospheric, The Skeleton Key begins strong, dips into absurdity, and then finishes with a bang. Overall, pretty good. I would say more, but I’m not gonna spoil it for you. I applaud the filmmakers for attempting an original ending. I think movies can be saved or ruined in the last 10 minutes, and this one went out on a high note.

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