Monday, May 15, 2006

The Skeleton Key

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

I HATE KATE HUDSON! Ok. Just had to get that off my chest. My hatred is unfair really, but it came once I found out she was Goldie Hawn's daugher. And I HATE GOLDIE HAWN! Now you know. Carry on.

Plotline: Kate Hudson's character moves into an old plantation estate to take care of an elderly man who has suffered from a stroke and is unable to speak or move. Strange things begin to happen in the house--she finds a mysterious room in the attic, the elderly man ends up out on the roof, scrambling to escape, she's told eerie stories of death and hoodoo that surround the house. As she struggles to unravel the mysteries of the home and its occupants, she is drawn deeper and deeper into the creepy past-life of the house.

Scariness factor: This movie isn't jump-in-your-seat scary, but it *is* successfully spooky at times.

Gross-Out Factor: Miniscule. Rated PG-13 if that tells you anything.

Complaints: This movie is slick and Hollywoodish. That is my only huge complaint. I suspect if I hadn't gone into this movie expecting to hate it, I probably would have a lot more to say here. But I think because I wasn't expecting much, I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would. It's a bit predictably unpredictable. And it's a bit lame at times (with a lot of those annoying gaps in logic), but overall, I was surprised that I didn't find myself with much to complain about. You will either love or absolutely abhor the ending, so perhaps that's a complaint as well, but take that as you will.

High Points: I've always been a sucker for voodoo-y-esque movies (like Angel Heart for example)--I'm not quite sure why (maybe because they're usually set in the beautiful and sweaty Louisiana and/or maybe because the whole voodoo thing is spooky and cool to me), but there's just something about them--so perhaps I'm not the utmost in objectiveness when it comes to reviewing The Skeleton Key. I think this helped out my opinion of this movie some--along with the fact that, as I mentioned earlier, I wasn't expecting much. But really though, the cast is a high-quality one (from Kate Hudson who, although I hate her, is a good actress, to Gena Rowlands, to Peter Sarsgaard). And there is a certain spooky atmospheric attractiveness to old Louisiana plantation homes that lends a wonderful creepiness to the film.

Overall: I was surprised that I liked this movie much more than I thought I would. It's slick and Hollywoodish, and it's kinda lame at times. But if offers up some good spookiness. And it leaves you wanting to figure out what the hell's going on and to unravel the mystery along with the main character. So all in all, when you're looking for something half-way decent to waste a couple of hours on (and if you go in not expecting a masterpiece), you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.

Grade: B



At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent review.

I didn't expect much from this movie, either, and found myself pleasantly surprised. And though I've sworn off "twist endings," I was pleased with this one. Very creepy.

I was also frustrated by the Hollywood slickness.

At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hollywood slickness indeed! the opening shots are editing voodoo, as the streetcar kate hudson is riding on goes by the building i used to live in pre-katrina, which is on the other side of town than the oaktrees and mansions of st.charles avenue in other shots!
i liked it alot, found it spooky and have always liked a downbeat ending. it was weird too that we had just fled new orleans, and a lot of the swampy exteriors are probably gone or changed completely.


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