Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


THE SKELETON KEY (2005). Director: Iain Softley. Screenplay by Ehren Kruger.

A young woman (Kate Hudson) applies for a position as nurse to a dying man in a Southern mansion and becomes embroiled in a mystery allegedly involving voodoo curses and a black servant couple who were murdered by a mob many years before. Hudson seems to suspect the dying man's wife Violet (Gena Rowlands) of being responsible for his condition, but she never bothers to take a sample of his blood to the police for analysis. The “twist” ending to this may be a surprise but it will not seem especially original to anyone who's seen The Mephisto Waltz and other films with a similar theme. The movie looks good and holds your attention, but the script is superficial and rather silly at times; the characters barely developed. An unrecognizable John Hurt is fine as the mostly mute old man. Gena Rowlands is simply splendid; next to her Kate Hudson seems a tame kitten coming up against a tigress. But neither Hudson nor her character are very appealing in this.

Verdict: Passable, but you've seen better. **.

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