CORPORATE LINE: From the writer of The Ring (Ehren Kruger) and the director of K-PAX (Iain Softley) comes Universal Pictures’ contemporary supernatural thriller, The Skeleton Key.
Set largely in the dark atmospheric backwoods just outside of New Orleans, The Skeleton Key stars Hudson as Caroline, a live-in nurse hired to care for an elderly woman’s (Rowlands) ailing husband (Hurt) in their home…a foreboding and decrepit mansion in the Louisiana delta. Intrigued by the enigmatic couple, their mysterious and secretive ways and their rambling house, Caroline beings to explore the old mansion. Armed with a skeleton key that unlocks every door, she discovers a hidden attic room that holds a deadly and terrifying secret. Peter Sarsgaard portrays Luke, the local attorney working on the couple’s estate, and Joy Bryant plays Jill, Caroline’s best friend.
THE FILM: A scary film isn’t made by cheap thrills. The Skeleton Key works too hard to make us jump rather than really scaring the hell out of us.
Director Iain Softley does a poor job of frightening us. The best thing about a scary movie is that you know your audience wants to be scared to death and yet Softley misses each and every opportunity to do just that.
Kate Hudson plays the lead and that is a shame—she couldn’t possibly be anymore vanilla. There isn’t a moment in the movie where you actually care what happens to her character. Rowlands and Hurt outplay Hudson every time.
FRANKLY: It’s not the ending that is bad—it’s the rest of the film. Too much of The Skeleton Key focuses on cheap thrills. To bad we don’t get a discount on tickets.
+ Charlie Craine