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Film: The Skeleton Key

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


Contains examples of:

  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Hoodoo is a real folk practice, albeit not as sinister as the film tries to make it (and contrary to what Jill implies in her Info Dump, most of it's adherents are Protestant Christians - in other words, God has everything to do with it).
  • And I Must Scream: A nasty potion is used repeatedly, that leaves victims with all the effects of a stroke.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: 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).
  • The Big Easy
  • Big Fancy House
  • Black Best Friend: Caroline's, who knows about Voodoo but doesn't practice it. Possibly may have noticed "Caroline" speaking like an old lady at the end.
  • Black Magic
  • Body Surf: Cecile and Justify's method of immortality.
  • Brother-Sister Incest (maybe): Cecile and Justify are a married couple who possessed the bodies of a brother and sister. When said siblings were children.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe
  • Creepy Housekeeper: Violet.
  • Downer Ending: Read above for The Bad Guy Wins.
  • Equivalent Exchange: Sometime sacrifice is more like... an exchange.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: A lifetime of body surfing hasn't put a damper on Cecile and Justify's marriage.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: 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.
    • Don't forget the servants switching bodies with you, then having your parents unwittingly lynch you and burn you alive — as young children.
  • Flyaway Shot: How the movie ends.
  • Grand Theft Me: The main goal of Cecile and Justify.
  • Hugh Mann: Happens at the end. Also the lawyer, now taken over, has to learn "lawayerism For Dummies" to pass over even for his job. That hoodoo bodysnatching has some drawbacks... but like they said, beggars can't be choosers.
  • Human Sacrifice: Implied, as a ruse. It's not exactly that, but worse.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Somewhat averted, as the movie makes the distinction that the goings on are the result of Hoodoo, not Voodoo. Still lots of Black Magic and such to go around, though.
  • House of Broken Mirrors
  • Infant Immortality: 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
  • Offing the Offspring: Grace and Martin were unwittingly killed by their parents.
  • Personal Effects Reveal: The eponymous key is found in one of the main character dead patient's personal belongings.
  • Playing Against Type: Kate Hudson, she of romantic comedies and light-hearted dramas in a horror piece.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Well, an attic full of Hoodoo anyway.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: The heroes accomplish absolutely nothing, and in the end, they suffer the same fate as all the other victims.

Sin CityFilms of 2005 - 2009 Sky Blue
The Sixth SenseHorror FilmsSlaughter High

alternative title(s): The Skeleton Key
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