THE SKELETON KEY
Full of Spells and Evil Spirits
Release Date: August 12, 2005
Starring: Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands,
John Hurt, and Peter Sarsgaard
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Rating: PG-13 for violence, disturbing
images, some partial nudity
and thematic material
Runtime: 97 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Director: Iain Softley
Executive Producer: Holly Bario, Scott Stuber and
Producer: Daniel Bobker, Michael
Shamberg, Stacey Sher, and
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Address Comments To:Bob Wright, Chairman/CEO
Ron Meyer, President/COO
Stacey Snider, Chairman
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
Phone: (818) 777-1000
Web Page: www.universalstudios.com
Kate Hudson stars as Caroline, a well-intentioned hospice worker who seeks to comfort the elderly as compensation for her absence from her father’s deathbed. She moves in with Violet and Ben Devereaux, looking after him after his stroke. The Devereaux home is an hour outside New Orleans, in the swampland, which is steeped in spooky voodoo lore.
Caroline is given a skeleton key that supposedly opens every room in the large house, but there is a tiny door in the attic that will not unlock. When asked about the mysterious attic room, Mrs. Devereaux avoids the subject. Caroline finally forces her way in and finds odd, disturbing artifacts, including brains kept in jars and eerie spells written on yellowed paper. As she investigates the strange findings, she begins to suspect that Mr. Devereaux has not really had a stroke at all, but that Mrs. Devereaux is harming him.
While piecing together clues from the attic, Caroline must find out what’s happening to Mr. Devereaux, how she can help him, and whether or not this black magic – called “hoodoo,” distinct from voodoo – is real. The closer she gets to the mystery, however, the more of an enemy Violet Devereaux becomes. Caroline begins to suspect that she, like Mr. Devereaux, is in danger.
THE SKELETON KEY turns on a plot of spirits and spells, which automatically makes it abhorrent to Christian audiences. As some characters gain acquaintance with these spells, they begin to act more selfishly and evil, which is one reason why the Bible tells us to stay away from magic and sorcery. In the end, the spells are successful, and the sorcerers win, which is a victory for evil. Nothing provides a philosophical or redemptive counter to the magic; one of the tainted characters even equates Christianity with superstition.
In addition to the witchcraft, there are also some moderate obscenities and profanities, plus the heroine strips down to her underwear just before a spooky scene, which is totally gratuitous.
Aside from concerns about the content, THE SKELETON KEY takes a long time to warm up. For the first half-hour, it appears to be a very boring drama about a hospice worker. Only after a third of the movie does the true plot emerge. Little of the action is suspenseful, so the story plays out more like a mystery.
The Bible warns people not to become entangled with magic, so this movie can only be harmful.
THE SKELETON KEY turns on a plot of spirits and spells, which automatically makes it abhorrent to Christian audiences. As some characters gain acquaintance with these spells, they begin to act more selfishly and evil, which is why the Bible tells us to stay away from witchcraft and sorcery. In the end, the spells are successful, and the sorcerers win, which is a victory for evil. One character even equates Christianity with superstition! THE SKELETON KEY also contains some foul language, plus the heroine strips down to her underwear just before a spooky scene, which is totally gratuitous.