The Skeleton Key is a 2005 horror film that takes place in the Louisiana bayou.
10 out of 10 stars for a truly terrifying film.
Caroline Ellis is a nurse’s aid who works with dying elderly people who are neglected by their families. After her most recent patient dies and his family says they want nothing to do with his things, she takes a job caring for the elderly husband of Violet Devereaux. Ben apparently suffered a stroke and cannot speak or care for himself.
Over the course of a few weeks, Caroline is given specific instructions that make her curious about the background of the house and of the Deverauxs. First, Violet tells her never to go into the attic. Then she gives her a skeleton key which opens every door except the attic. Then Caroline discovers there are no mirrors in the house and when she puts up a mirror, Violet immediately removes it and yells at her. Until finally Violet tells her the history of the house. A rich man named Thorpe owned the house and he and his wife had two children. When he discovered that two of his slaves, Papa Justify and Mama Cecile, were teaching his children hoodoo he had them hung and burned while his dinner guests watched and clapped. And apparently both Violet and Ben can see them in the mirrors in the house which is why there are no mirrors.
So eventually curiosity overcomes Caroline and she breaks into the attic. She finds a book with a spell of protection and a record with a conjure of sacrifice. Later, Violet tells her that brick dust is the only way to keep those who wish you harm from entering your room, so Caroline pours brick dust over the threshold of her room and Caroline cannot cross it.
Ben attempts to escape by climbing out onto the roof so she becomes convinced that if she performs some hoodoo ritual he will speak again since he seems to believe he is under some kind of hex. When she does this, Violet interrupts and Caroline is almost fired. Violet and Ben’s attorney, Luke Marshall, convinces Violet to keep Caroline on.
Then one night Caroline attempts to take Ben away from the house. She is caught and runs to her room where she draws a circle of protection on the floor around her. That’s when she discovers she was tricked. It isn’t a circle of protection but a circle of sacrifice. Violet puts on the record of Conjure of Sacrifice and when it finishes Caroline is transported into Violet’s body while Violet who is actually Mama Cecile is transferred into Caroline’s body. As an ambulance takes away Caroline and Ben, we see Papa Justify in Luke’s body and Mama Cecile in Caroline’s body talking about how it’s getting harder and harder to get new bodies because the young ones just don’t believe.
10 out of 10 stars. Terrifying and unique.