[[quoteright:270:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/The-Skeleton-Key_2817.jpg]]

2005 horror movie, starring Kate Hudson as a hospice worker who takes a job caring for an invalid at an old house in [[TheBigEasy New Orleans]]. Things rapidly go downhill as the old man's wife behaves strangely, a locked room in the attic contains [[HollywoodVoodoo evidence of hoodoo rituals]], and she finds the poor guy desperately wants to escape...

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!!'''Contains examples of:'''

* AndIMustScream: A nasty potion is used repeatedly, that leaves victims with all the effects of a stroke.
* TheBadGuyWins: [[spoiler:Cecile ends up possessing Caroline, leaving her stuck in Violet's crippled, mute body right alongside Ben (actually Luke, with the same thing done to him previously by Justify).]]
* TheBigEasy
* BigFancyHouse
* BlackBestFriend: Caroline's, who knows about Voodoo but doesn't practice it. [[spoiler: ''Possibly'' may have noticed "Caroline" speaking like an old lady at the end.]]
* BlackMagic
* BodySurf: [[spoiler: Cecile and Justify's method of immortality.]]
* BrotherSisterIncest (maybe): [[spoiler: Cecile and Justify are a married couple who possessed the bodies of a brother and sister. When said siblings were children.]]
* ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve
* CreepyHousekeeper: Violet.
* DownerEnding: Read above for TheBadGuyWins.
* EquivalentExchange: [[spoiler:Sometime sacrifice is more like... an exchange.]]
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: A lifetime of [[spoiler:body surfing]] hasn't put a damper on [[spoiler:Cecile and Justify's marriage.]]
* FateWorseThanDeath: [[spoiler:Being stuck in a body old and decrepit, unable to talk, helped by two "caring" people who at least will put you out of your misery soon.]]
** [[spoiler: Don't forget the servants switching bodies with you, then having your parents unwittingly ''lynch you and burn you alive -- as young children''.]]
* FlyawayShot: How the movie ends.
* GrandTheftMe: The main goal of [[spoiler:Cecile and Justify]].
* HughMann: Happens at the end. [[spoiler:Also the lawyer, now taken over, has to learn "lawayerism ForDummies"]] to pass over ''even for his job''. That [[spoiler:hoodoo bodysnatching]] has some drawbacks... but like they said, beggars can't be choosers.
* HumanSacrifice: [[spoiler:Implied, as a ruse. It's ''[[MetaphoricallyTrue not exactly that]]'', but ''worse''.]]
* HollywoodVoodoo: Somewhat averted, as the movie makes the distinction that the goings on are the result of Hoodoo, not Voodoo. Still lots of BlackMagic and such to go around, though.
* HouseOfBrokenMirrors
* InfantImmortality: [[spoiler:Averted. Cecile and Justify take over the bodies of little Martin and Grace, implicitly killing them in the process.]]
* {{Mammy}}: Mama Cecile for Martin and Grace.
* {{Manipulative Bastard}}[[spoiler:s: Cecile and Justify.]] Sort of justified: [[spoiler:it was easier to trick children than wrestle grown adults into a magic circle and make them exchange bodies. They wanted revenge on their masters, if we are to believe them, who treated them badly. The children supplied more years for them to live. And at that time and age, they needed white bodies to live as decent human beings. And we don't even know if they caused the children to go missing on purpose: for all we know, that could have happened right after the ritual ended. First time always takes longer to prepare and enact.]]
* OffingTheOffspring: [[spoiler: Grace and Martin were unwittingly killed by their parents]].
* PersonalEffectsReveal: The eponymous key is found in one of the main character dead patient's personal belongings.
* PlayingAgainstType: Kate Hudson, she of romantic comedies and light-hearted dramas in a horror piece.
* RoomFullOfCrazy: Well, an attic full of Hoodoo anyway.
* ShootTheShaggyDog: The heroes accomplish absolutely nothing, and in the end, they suffer the same fate as all the other victims.
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