Monday, July 14, 2014

The Skeleton Key (2005)

Number Rolled: 4
Movie Name/Year: The Skeleton Key (2005)
Genre: Thriller
Length: 103 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Affiliated Companies: Universal Pictures, ShadowCatcher Entertainment, Double Feature Films, Daniel Bobker Productions, Brick Dust Productions LLC, MFPV Film
Executive Producer: Clayton Townsend
Director: Iain Softley
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Actors: Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard, Joy Bryant, Maxine Barnett, Fahnlohnee R. Harris, Thomas Uskali, Jen Apgar, Forrest Landis, Jamie Lee Redmon, Ronald McCall, Jeryl Prescott, Isaach De Bankole

Caroline is a hospice worker trying to get enough experience to become a nurse. When she finds she disagrees with the heartless nature of the hospice she works at, she sets out to find a client of her own. After finding an ad in the paper, she finds a strange old couple to work for.

Despite the decent cast there was really nothing spectacular about this movie. I wasn’t startled when I should have been and the plot was ultimately predictable. I enjoyed the ending otherwise it would have been a complete waste of time.

Maybe it’s because I’ve seen a great deal of hoodoo-based movies/shows, but it feels like writers do the same things over and over again. They build up the dispute of the subject so much that it loses its edge.

The best way to describe what I mean is by using The Matrix as an example. There will be spoilers in the next paragraph, but the film’s been out for 15 years. The grace period to see it is over, spoilers are now just kind of recaps.

When Neo first meets Morpheus, he doesn’t quite get what the matrix is or his role in it. Even when he’s training it hurts to get hit or to fall. So, when Neo believes the matrix is real, an agent holding a gun to him is terrifying. Even though he can dodge the bullets, he fearfully calls for Trinity. However, by the end of the movie the matrix makes sense to him; the gun does not exist, so he doesn’t even bother dodging. There’s no fear.

Hoodoo movies and shows tend to stress that the magic is only frightening if you believe in it. So, I wind up staring at the screen wondering why the victims don’t just walk away. The script itself denies that there’s any actual danger for the character, so there’s no fear.

A great hoodoo script wouldn’t outright say that the magic can’t hurt someone if they don’t believe. It would let that be an unspoken rule. Only then would the psychological terror become more realistic.

The mind is a powerful thing. If a writer tells me the main conflict is a lie, I will believe it’s a lie.

And I will be bored.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 38%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 58%

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.5/5
Trust-the-Dice Score2/5

Movie Trailer: