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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

The Skeleton Key

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Judy Thorburn

The Skeleton Key

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“THE SKELETON KEY” UNLOCKS THE SECRET OF WHO DO THE VOO DOO

My husband is right when he says he doesn’t think we have ever seen a film set in New Orleans, where voo doo wasn’t part of the scenario.  That city known for its Mardi Gras, also has a reputation for voo doo. That’s something most of us find pretty creepy and not accepted by mainstream America. And, since it fits into the supernatural category, many Hollywood scriptwriters have made it a worthy subject to exploit in numerous thrillers. In keeping with that thought, when I saw that New Orleans was the setting for the Skeleton Key, it came as no surprise what to expect.  Shortly into the film there are enough hints of what will be a key element in this storyline, pardon the pun.  Don’t worry; this information, in no way, gives away the twist at the end.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Skeleton Key, Voo Doo, Hoo Doo, Magic, Spells, Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, Peter Skarsgaard, Joy Bryant, John Hurt, Iain Softley, Ehren Kruger, Clayton Townsend, Dan Mindel

Kate Hudson, attempting to branch out into another genre far away from those cutesy romantic comedies, is the star of The Skeleton Key.   She plays New Jersey born Caroline Ellis, a hospice worker tired of working in a hospital-like setting where she feels no one really cares about the dying patients.  So, she quits her job at the hospice and finds another position listed in the newspaper as a private caregiver for Ben (John Hurt), an elderly man who is paralyzed by a stroke, unable to speak and nearing death. Of course, he lives in a huge run down white mansion out in the bayou country where only his wife Violet (Gena Rowland) has been tending to his needs and the lawyer (Peter Skaarsgard) hired to work on his will, are ever in sight. And yes, strange and mysterious things start happening once Carrie is given the skeleton key, which can open any door in the house. What she finds is unnerving, if not downright spooky.  If I was in her shoes I would have been out the door in a flash once I heard weird noises, noticed all the mirrors had been removed, and discovered a locked room hidden away in the attic filled with books on magic spells and other voodoo paraphernalia.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Skeleton Key, Voo Doo, Hoo Doo, Magic, Spells, Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, Peter Skarsgaard, Joy Bryant, John Hurt, Iain Softley, Ehren Kruger, Clayton Townsend, Dan Mindel

When Carrie asks questions, Violet responds with a story about the house’s history that dates back almost a hundred years. It involves the murder committed by the former rich white inhabitants, after discovering their son and daughter at the center of a ritual by the black husband and wife servants, practitioners of a brand of voo doo called hoo doo (or is it who do?)  With that information and more to be uncovered, there is enough bad energy permeating the surroundings to create an air of mystery and suspense.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Skeleton Key, Voo Doo, Hoo Doo, Magic, Spells, Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, Peter Skarsgaard, Joy Bryant, John Hurt, Iain Softley, Ehren Kruger, Clayton Townsend, Dan Mindel

This is a “thriller”, so there is no doubt the sweet and innocent star isn’t about to high tail it. You see Carrie is seeking redemption for the guilt she harbors about not being there for her father a year earlier, when he was dying. That, and a heavy dose of curiosity are obviously stronger than the fear factor.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Skeleton Key, Voo Doo, Hoo Doo, Magic, Spells, Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, Peter Skarsgaard, Joy Bryant, John Hurt, Iain Softley, Ehren Kruger, Clayton Townsend, Dan Mindel

The creaky staircases, flickering lights, dark hallways, outside thunder, lightning and rainstorms are all pretty much routine in thrillers such as this.  I was ready when the obligatory jump scare moments were about to happen. Been there done that so many times before, I wasn’t shocked. Yet, writer Ehren Kruger (Ring 2, Scream 3) has written an interesting and intriguing script layered with excellent, atmospheric images befitting the story. I was engrossed and wondering where it was all headed.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Skeleton Key, Voo Doo, Hoo Doo, Magic, Spells, Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, Peter Skarsgaard, Joy Bryant, John Hurt, Iain Softley, Ehren Kruger, Clayton Townsend, Dan Mindel

Hudson does her best, and succeeds, to hold her own her against veteran actress Rowlands, who at times crosses the line into campy territory. I’ve got to mention that I was bugged by the fact that Rowlands shows no trace of an old southern belle accent, yet sees fit to question why Carrie didn’t sound like she came from them there parts.  As for John Hurt, he spends all of his time in such a frozen state that he never gets to utter more than a few words. His facial expressions and eyes do all the work.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, The Skeleton Key, Voo Doo, Hoo Doo, Magic, Spells, Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, Peter Skarsgaard, Joy Bryant, John Hurt, Iain Softley, Ehren Kruger, Clayton Townsend, Dan Mindel

The Skeleton Key may not be the most frightening horror tale. It’s certainly not the Sixth Sense, but like that ghost story, has an ending that grabs with a hair-raising twist.  Stick around, and you will see The Skeleton Key unlock the who do of the voo doo. No bones about it, the payoff may haunt you for days.