by Philip Ellwood - Wednesday August 10th 2005
‘The Skeleton Key‘ has received a very confused response from the media. The trailers would have you believe that the film is going to be the usual mix of cheap scares with a monsters in the attic twist. I went to the cinema expecting to see a horror movie but what I got was actually something very different.
Kate Hudson stars as a young hospice worker Caroline who tires of the uncaring attitude of the institution she works in. She begins to look for other jobs and stumbles upon an advert for a live-in care worker in the Deep South. After being successfully hired, Caroline moves into the house of an elderly woman and her dying husband. Her job is to provide full-time care to the dying man, Ben, but she soon realises that there is more to the elderly couple than they are letting on...
‘The Skeleton Key‘ is a slow building psychological thriller. It is not a horror film as such but does create enough atmosphere to seriously scare you silly as you watch the events unfold. Kate Hudson carries the film. It is the first time she has strayed from the romantic comedy genre in recent years and she proves herself to be a compelling lead actress. John Hurt stars as the dying husband Ben but has little more to do than look scared and drool as his character cannot move or speak. Gena Rowlands sufficiently creeps the audience out with her performance as Ben‘s controlling wife Violet. There is no doubt this film is a Kate Hudson vehicle and it should see her star continue to soar.
Some may find the pace of the film a bit slow but ‘The Skeleton Key‘ is definitely worth sticking with. The ending is a corker and is ultimately what allows the film to rise above the average expectation of this genre. I really enjoyed the movie and found myself constantly surprised and spooked. As long as you don‘t go expecting an all-out horror movie, you may find ‘The Skeleton Key‘ to be quite a nice guilty pleasure.
Director - Iain Softley
Distributor - UIP
UK Release Date: Friday 29th July 2005
Celebrities Worldwide Rating: 7 out of 10