Some complained when they saw the PG-13, but it's appropriate enough here--we're dealing with Deep South hoodoo (that's not a typo, if you're wondering) and not flesh-eating zombies. The setup's pretty well explained in the trailer: Kate Hudson is the young hospice worker who takes the case of stroke victim (or is he?) John Hurt under the watchful, mistrustful eye of Gena Rowlands. And thanks largely to the key of the title, we start in with the "deep dark secret" business. 

Seventy-five percent of the movie is achingly predictable, and once again we've got a director who insists on utilizing the KA-POW!!! noise on the soundtrack every time he wants you to jump (which is often). Not quite so much as BOOGEYMAN, but still undeniably there. 

However, we do have very authentic and atmospheric sets and locations, the details of the religion in question are as fascinating as ever to the curious (like me), the central flashback is suitably horrifying, and we do work our way to quite a decent finale. 

THE SKELETON KEY never hits the heights, but it's certainly an agreeable matinee at the very least.

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