A hospice nurse working at a spooky New Orleans plantation home finds herself entangled in a mystery involving the house's dark past.
_**The Louisiana bayou, an antebellum mansion, Hoodoo and Kate Hudson**_ A New Orleans hospice worker (Kate Hudson) takes a job at a dilapidated antebellum mansion in the bayou caring for a dying old man (John Hurt). His wife seems to be hiding something, however (Gena Rowlands). Peter Sarsgaard is on hand as the estate’s amiable lawyer. "The Skeleton Key" (2005) is a Southern Gothic supernatural thriller set in the Louisiana bayou à la “Cat People” (1982) and “The Reaping” (2007). It’s not as good as the former, but arguably superior to the latter or at least on par. Most of the film is an eerie drama taking place in and around the old Southern mansion, but the pace picks up in the final act with a quality surprise climax. Neither my wife nor I were able to anticipate the revelation, but it makes sense and hails back to earlier obscure horror flicks which I can’t name because I don’t want to give it away. Kate is a highlight with her cute face and the director doesn’t fail to capture her beauty in a tasteful way, but she needed to gain about 12 lbs as her thinness is un-alluring. Really, the only negatory is that the setting/cast is one-dimensional, which makes the movie tediously mundane, but this is offset by the creepy supernatural element. The film runs 1 hour, 44 minutes, and was shot in Louisiana (Felicity Plantation, Vacherie; Bayou Gauche & New Orleans) with additional stage stuff done in Universal City, California. GRADE: B/B-