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The Skeleton Key [HD DVD]

4.2 out of 5 stars 448 customer reviews

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• IMPORTANT NOTICE: This high-definition disc will only play in an HD DVD player. It will not play in a standard-definition DVD player, Blu-ray player, or PS3.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Kate Hudson stars in The Skeleton Key - a supernatural thriller that weaves a tale of terror and suspense! When Caroline Ellis (Hudson) takes a job in Louisiana's bayous, she unlocks a deadly secret involving magic, conjure and sacrifice that pulls her into a terrifying world of strange, frightening and unexplained incidents. The key to escaping may lie in a decrepit attic, but if she dares to believe in what she discovers, everything she fears will become real!


Steeped in rain, humidity, and eerie bayou atmosphere, The Skeleton Key is an entertaining supernatural thriller that makes excellent use of its Louisiana locations. New Orleans and the rural environs of Terrebonne Parish are crucial in setting up the creepy circumstances that find compassionate caregiver Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson) newly employed at the backwater plantation home of Violet (Gena Rowlands) and her invalid husband Ben (John Hurt), who's been rendered mute and seemingly helpless by a recent stroke. The place is rife with mystery, shrouded in the secrets of a suspicious past and, under Violet's stern supervision, plagued by superstition involving the use of Hoodoo magic spells (not to be confused with Voodoo, as explored in the similarly suspenseful Angel Heart) intended to protect the house from harm. But Caroline soon discovers the source of the mystery, and why Ben (who can barely utter a word) is so desperate to escape his seemingly comfortable domesticity. There are a few loopholes in the screenplay by prolific horror writer Ehren Kruger (The Ring and The Brothers Grimm), but director Iain Softley (Wings of the Dove) expertly emphasizes the edgy air of mystery, pushing some effective shocks while encouraging fine work from Hudson, Peter Sarsgaard (as Violet's lawyer) and especially Rowlands, who's genuinely disturbing as Skeleton Key nears a twist ending that's undeniably effective. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • With optional commentary by Director Iain Softley
  • Behind the Locked Door - Making the Skeleton Key
  • Exploring Voodoo/Hoodoo
  • Recipe and Ritual: Making the Perfect Gumbo
  • Blues in the Bayou
  • Kate Hudson's Ghost Story
  • Plantation Life
  • Casting the Skeleton Key
  • John Hurt's Story
  • A House Called Felicity
  • Gena's Love Spell
  • Audio Commentary With Director Iain Softley

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard, Joy Bryant
    • Directors: Iain Softley
    • Writers: Ehren Kruger
    • Producers: Iain Softley, Daniel Bobker, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher
    • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1), French (Dolby Digital-Plus 5.1)
    • Subtitles: French
    • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
    • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      Parents Strongly Cautioned
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2007
    • Run Time: 104 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (448 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B000NVL1YA
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,456 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "The Skeleton Key [HD DVD]" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By thornhillatthemovies.com VINE VOICE on August 15, 2005
    Almost every film you watch requires some level of suspension of disbelief. Some genres (Sci-Fi, Horror, Musicals, etc.) require more than others (drama). I am willing to give any film the benefit of the doubt and fully "buy into" the world the filmmakers attempt to create. Because of this, I expect a lot from the filmmakers in return. If they expect me to take that leap of faith, I expect them to deliver believable characters, an interesting, involving story and to make me laugh, believe, get frightened, whatever the story would dictate. If they do that, I usually enjoy the film. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen enough. If they don't, the film becomes a mess. "The Skeleton Key", the new thriller starring Kate Hudson, is a film requiring a fair amount of suspension of disbelief. The key to unlocking its success is to make everything believable. Does it accomplish that?

    Caroline (Kate Hudson), a hospice worker in New Orleans, becomes so disillusioned with her job that she answers an ad for a private in-home caregiver in a parish about an hour out of the city. Upon arrival, she meets Violet (Gena Rowlands), the wife of her new patient, Ben (John Hurt). Violet is reluctant to have strangers in her house, a large plantation home that has seen better days, but their lawyer, Luke (Peter Sarsgaard, "Kinsey") insists that she get help for Ben during his last days; he had a heart attack while working in the attic and is now paralyzed on both sides of his body, unable to speak or move. Caroline accepts the job and soon receives a skeleton key that will open every door in the house. Exploring the house, she soon makes her way up to the attic and begins to discover some strange things.
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    Format: DVD
    The Skeleton Key starring Kate Hudson is an interesting horror flick. I enjoyed this film very much, Hudson plays Caroline, she takes care of ill elders. She arrives at a house in New Orleans and strange things begin to happen to the man she is taking care of. A fantastic and scary performance by Gena Rowlands, who knew she could convel such an evil old lady so well. Watch out for the twist ending, didn't see that one coming. Hudson is great as always, she should do more of these types of films. I highly recommend The Skeleton Key!
    Comment 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Iain Softley's "The Skeleton Key" is a deliciously creepy entertainment for a lazy afternoon or evening. Softley builds the story slowly, marinating us in the spooky atmosphere of a dilapidated Louisiana bayou mansion, until we're just as hypnotized as the hapless heroine. That heroine, played by Kate Hudson, comes to the house to help a tart-tongued old woman (Gena Rowlands) take care of her stroke-immobilized husband (John Hurt). From there, she gets far more embroiled than she'd like in the hoodoo-laced history of the house and its inhabitants. Working from a screenplay by Ehren Krueger ("The Ring"), Softley places the pieces of the story in jigsaw-puzzle fashion; the placement of the last piece knocks you for a loop with a surprise ending you'll be thinking about for days. Hudson--who has much of her mother's charm, plus a certain pizzazz all her own--gives a totally satisfying performance as the heroine; Hurt (in a nearly wordless performance) and Rowlands also are excellent, as is Peter Sarsgaard as the family lawyer. As with all good thrillers, "The Skeleton Key" messes with our minds, rather than our gag reflexes. If you're a fan of "The Twilight Zone" (the TV series, that is, not the movie), chances are you'll love this.
    Comment 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    ...on how good this movie was. I mean, initially when I saw the trailer and I wasn't impressed. It looked just like another haunted house movie with cheap special effects. But my friends dragged me into it, so I went and saw it. After watching it, I was actually surprised as to how much I liked it.

    The story is about Caroline (played by Kate Hudson), a nursing student who is tired of her old job. She takes a job in Louisiana to take care of a stroke victim (played by John Hurt), and his aging wife (played by Gena Rowlands). She moves into the house with them, and that starts experiencing strange things, like the paralyzed patient trying to communicate with her, mirrors missing on the walls, and a secret door in the attic which keeps thumping constantly. She feels like there is something bizarre going on and gets convinced that Ben, the patient, was paralyzed by some force, and that she can find a way for him to become normal again. What she doesn't know that there is a deeper power working at hand, which she must figure out before she is the next victim.

    The beginning is a little slow for a while, since nothing really goes on for the first fifteen minutes. But once Caroline sees the door in the attic, the movie picks up, and towards the end, it is a constant roller-coaster ride. Furthermore, most of the movies we see these days are not scary at all, and make us jump only because of the insane sound effects. But this movie actually created a creepy atmosphere because of the characters and the story, rather than relying on the gore and sound effects, which is why I enjoyed watching it. Gena Rowlands did a fantastic job in her acting. Come on, she is 75 years old, and she has to be commended for playing her role so well for her age.
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