Tuesday, August 16, 2005
If spoilers follow, they're slight.
Skeleton Key: Kate Hudson acts the part of a New Jersey college student who, mourning the loss of her father, shifts her work to hospice care, easing the dying to the end. Naturally, she lands a gig in a hoodoo-haunted Bayou mansion (is this the same place Forrest Gump was filmed?) many miles from the closest city, a shadowy and unkempt house where much mystery and mayhem ensues, tensions build, and the spirited plot (in four words: need more brick dust) creeps onward.
It's fresh enough and solid enough that I don't want to flatten it out too much here. I'd say it's styled in the tradition of Twilight Zone; the double entendre on skeleton key is something like Rod Serling would've devised (or so I was reminded, not that I'm really not very well studied in this kind of thing). And its PG-13 rating is just about right considering that it's just a little bit sexy, a little bit surprising, and a little bit bizarre. On the verge of the stuff of nightmares, especially given John Hurt's stroke-stricken character, Ben Devereaux, who coughs, gasps, and makes wide eyes throughout his drawn out victimization. And yes, it also includes to at least one painfully unoriginal one-liner; a groaner I was disappointed that the writers/directors/producers didn't have enough good sense to trim. Formula: high-suspense moment when imperiled character breaks in with ridiculously obvious statement; everyone laughs in relief (although there's really nothing much funny about what's happening).
And so I recommend the movie with the caveat that it's a mid-grade pop-suspense success and also something of a puzzler--one you, if you're like me (which you might not be), will think over for a few minutes, seriously expecting unforgivable gaps in the story. But I was satisfied that the resolution was much less detectable than the same in The Sixth Sense, which is to say that if you know how it's going to turn out, my take on on Skeleton Key slides all the way from decent down to why bother. I'm stopping now before I've said too much.Posted by Derek Mueller at August 16, 2005 10:00 PM to Unspecified