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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:

  • 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 Bastards: Cecile and Justify. Sort of justified: 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.
  • 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.

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

alternative title(s): The Skeleton Key
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