Women in Horror

The Skeleton Key (2005)

I absolutely adore just about everything surrounding The Skeleton Key. Hoodoo, New Orleans, the cast – Kate Hudson, John Hurt, Gena Rowlands, Peter Sarsgaard, MY GOD! I know I go for a few too many cooking references but that’s a fucking spectacular recipe, one that’s brought me back for multiple viewings. That, and the batshit crazy storyline that had me reeling at every turn.

Well…maybe that was the booze.

Still – absolutely captivating.




When I polled the wonderful fans and readers of HH on just what I should review to kick off my celebration of Women in Horror month, the wonderful Alexandra Boylan of Home Sweet Home fame recommended The Skeleton Key – which got me thinking. Mint Julep. Seriously, what beverage could be more perfect? What other combination brings to mind the south more so than Bourbon, mint, and sugar?

After all…

“If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels.”
Tennessee Williams




The supremely sexy (even if shes not EXACTLY my type) Kate Hudson plays Caroline, a 25 year old hospice worker who’s fed up with the system and ready to change, actually help someone and DO SOME GOOD IN THIS WORLD DAMMIT. So, she takes up residence in the Devereaux household, caring for Ben (John Hurt), a recent stroke victim.

Which, considering the thousand bucks a week she’s getting paid, is a pretty swanky gig.

Being the south and working on a plantation of course, shit’s pretty definitely creepy already. When Caroline begins to discover evidence of Hoodoo rituals however, and some odd rules such as ‘no mirrors allowed’, the creep factor ramps up exponentially and will have you on pins and needles the whole damn time. I mean a was rockin goosebumps and an awkward half chub (thats mild erection for you squares) the entire time. I say awkward given the largely male company at the time but shit…it was worth it.

RIGHT. Anyway.

After establishing herself and earning a modicum of trust with Violet Devereaux (Gena Rowlands) Caroline is given a key, one that will open any door in the house a…dare I say..SKELETON KEY?!

dun dunn DUNNNN

As Caroline explores the house with her new found freedom she discovers many Hoodoo artifacts, and begins to suspect that something is awry – even that Ben may believe he’s under some sort of spell. These suspicions gain more credence as Ben begins to act increasingly panicked and bizarre, apparently attempting to escape. Caroline confides in Luke, played by Peter Saarsgard, the young lawyer assisting with the Devereaux estate, who believes her just enough to assist.

I’d like to go into greater detail, but this is where shit gets REALLY interesting, and I’m not here to spoil it for you so just go watch the damn movie.




Mehhhhh…there’s some decent side boob from our main woman Kate Hudson, but nothing spectacular, so take this as a consolation prize:

Satisfied? Me neither. But its something.

Satisfied? Me neither. But its something.


Again…still very much a ‘meh’. Its more about the fucked up subject matter than it is splatter.


WONDERFUL. I love Kate Hudson, I love Peter Sarsgaard…all around just pretty solid acting.


Absolutely the best aspect of this movie. Stellar. Haunting. Perfect framing.



Again, I’m confronted with a movie centered on some very interesting topics. The matter of hospice care in general, the type of person it takes to care for people in the last moments of their lives, to watch them die and pass unnoticed from this world…that’s a strength I can’t personally comprehend. And its so INSANELY important, how we treat our elderly, and no one seems to give a fuck. Look at the amount our government spends on geriatric care. Shits fucking saddening. I digress.

Ignore my statistics above, the plot is the real star. The setting and subject matter bring you in, and the twists and turns keep you in your seat for every fucking minute. When you learn who was really getting lynched you’ll find your brain doing somersaults at the Special Olympics.

TL;DR 8/10. Every lacking aspect of this film is amply redeemed by the wonderful tone and fascinating storytelling.

Pick up the movie HERE



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3 replies »

  1. You know, I’ve had a DVD copy of this film for years, & never have taken the time to watch it. Thanks to you, now, I can prioritize a bit, & I’m really looking forward to viewing it. Kudos for an excellent review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always have liked Kate Hudson’s work, only sad she is so flat-chested. Her mama, Goldie Hawn, who used to be flat chested, had a boob job, & this fleshed out her image.



      Lol, wow, but does that make perfect sense or what. I can go with the flat chested thing, while she might not be my type she has a stellar body.


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