The Skeleton Key


As a group, we decided the first movie we would watch would be, The Skeleton Key, Directed by: Iain Softley. We chose this film because it was not a particularly well reviewed psychological thriller.  There seemed to be a lot of debate as to why audiences did not like the film. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a Rating of 37%, stating that: Thanks to its creaky and formulaic script, The Skeleton Key is more mumbo-jumbo than hoodoo and more dull than scary.

Personally, I liked the film. I thought that the plot kept you guessing until the very end. I also felt as though the film’s ending was subversive in a way. The reason the plot keeps you guessing is because of this subversion. Typically in suspense, thrillers, and horror movies, white female protagonists tend to survive to the very end. They typically are not punished for cultural transgressions that may take place throughout the film. This movie was very different, The main character, Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson), was not only punished for her cultural transgressions (cultural appropriation, disruption of a community, assumptions of what is legitimate and what isn’t), but she is essentially defeated.
The last two scenes of the Skeleton Key, show the two characters who defeated Caroline (both slaves who outsmarted their master’s when the house was a plantation home), in the right, looking down at Caroline in her new body in the bottom left corner, but moving out of the shot.

The dialog goes as follows, “I told you I wanted a black one this time.” (meaning a new black body to replace her original body), it is followed by, “You know the black ones never stay.” (everything black character in the film reminded Caroline time and time again, about meddling in Voodoo with zero knowledge or understanding.)


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