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The Skeleton Key Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal

    A very goofy movie that makes sense only to the screenwriter and his next of kin.

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    Director Iain Softley employs intriguing camera angles to heighten some of the suspense. It's too bad the movie goes over the top and falls apart in the last third.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    One of those movies that explains too much while it is explaining too little, and leaves us with a surprise at the end that makes more sense the less we think about it. But the movie's mastery of technique makes up for a lot.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune

    For all its dark, Gothic intentions and supernatural twists, it lacks the emotional and intellectual punch of similarly themed films, most notably Alejandro Amenábar's "The Others."

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  • 70

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

    An elegantly mounted ghost story that's steeped plenty of dank Louisiana atmosphere.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Scott Brown

    For anyone zombified by creaky thriller clichés, Skeleton is a fine little shot in the head.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 13+

Creepy thriller that's too scary for younger kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie features scary images of hoodoo and conjuring, as well as jump scenes, abrupt flashbacks to the legendary source of the trouble, and some language (one use of the f-word). Characters smoke and drink, and use spells to call up and chase away spirits. One character hunts another with a shotgun; a wheelchair-bound older man frequently looks frightened and cannot speak; a woman falls and breaks both her legs; characters are trapped in rooms and ghosts appear. A lynching scene appears in a flashback.

  • Families can talk about Caroline's desire to take care of "old people": while she expresses guilt over abandoning her father, how does the film use her story to reflect on a broader cultural need to respect (or at least know about) the past and previous generations?
  • How does the movie use hoodoo (and the black servants' tragic story) asa metaphor for slavery, for which subsequent generations -- black andwhite -- still suffer consequences?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Characters cast hoodoo spells, deceive one another, and commit murder; a flashback shows a lynching scene.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Hoodoo spells, some jump scenes, scary scenes (wind, storms, shadows, ghosts), and violence.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Partial nudity (male and female, while bathing).

  • language false3

    Language: Mild, though one use of f-word.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Frequent cigarette smoking, an early club/party scene, some drinking.