Contradicting Popular Opinion
An Enquiry Concerning Why Your Favorite Movie Sucks:The Skeleton Key
Now, a lot of folk believe The Skeleton Key to be a good horror flick.
Some of these people are among the Anti-Drive-in crowd. These folk tend to have an odd set of rules about what makes a good horror flick.
Here are some of THEIR rules:
Rule 3- The protagonist must be waif-ish, internally conflicted, and fairly incompetent.
Rule 6- No badass explosions.
Rule 13c- No Chainsaws.
Rule 13h- No Hockey Masks.
Rule 20- No naked breasts are allowed (save the occasional side boob).
Rule 27- The film must never be called a horror flick.
Rule 27d- Period setting is a big plus.
Rule 28- Nobody, at any time, should ever be killed onscreen.
Rule 36- The film should contain nice furniture.
Rule 49- Special effects should only be used for fog and atmospheric conditions.
Rule 428cj- No kick-ass cars, ever.
Rule 1911- Use of firearms must be limited before reaching a moderate level of awesome.
Anyways, the majority of these folk work towards the death of joy. They are easy to spot in a crowd, and if you stick coal in their asses they shit diamonds.
There are other, more reasonable, folk that have been tricked into thinking The Skeleton Key is a decent flick.
These tend to be folk who are dealing with something which I shall refer to as UBRS or Uwe Boll Recovery Syndrome. With this condition, any sign of competence in a horror movie will allow said movie to be deemed “good” or better. Let’s take a look at The Skeleton Key threw UWE colored glasses. The back-story doesn’t really contradict itself. The director has obviously seen other movies and seems to have an idea of shots that might allow the story to be told. The movie is full of actors people have heard of, actors people think they should have heard of, and actors whose names demand phonetic respect (id est: Peter Sarsagard). Goldie Hawn’s kid is the star, John Cassavete’s widow plays a big part, and the Black Friend is played by the girl that yells, “It’s a Web?! GO SPIDEY GO!!”
Most impressively of all, the movie features John Hurt! John Hurt, Mr. Elephant Man! John Hurt, of chest bursting fame! John Hurt, Hellboy’s dad! And The Skeleton Key makes full use of his acting talents and distinct voice by having him play a character who is mostly mute and paralyzed. Easy paycheck huh John?
I got distracted there, sorry.
As you all know I am staunchly PRO-drive-in. I am also immune to UBRS as I have been vaccinated with a life of Manos, Hobgoblins, and Red Zone Cuba.
So let’s look at this movie properly. First off, the fella that directed it, also has K-Pax on his resume. K-Pax!
This omen is a bad omen.
Most of the shots are adequate. A couple of them felt like Video Game shots, which is not a good thing. The movie goes normal, normal, normal, Resident Evil 8: Attack of the Bad Camera Angle, normal.
Caroline has found the rook plug!
Actually the entire movie felt a lot like an old Resident Evil game. You know, without the zombie-killing. A chick wanders around the house, looking for random stuff, unlocking doors, and getting a bunch of stiffly delivered and uninteresting back-story that somebody worked hard on.
I was watching the flick going, “yeah yeah, cutscene. Where is the button I push to skip through it?”
Most of the dialogue is like that too. A lot of people telling, and very little people talking. Every line felt like a monologue. I really dislike that in a horror movie. I really dislike that in a movie.
Geez, I wonder who wrote this movie anyway? … Hmm, Ehren Kruger… Oh, yuck, the guy that wrote Reindeer Games? Oh man.
Anyways, the whole movie ends with Twist 24a (The Fallen twist). Where Freaky Friday begins, this movie ends!
Seriously, though. A body swap? This movie has been so stiff and so serious throughout, and it ends with something as silly as a body swap?
Do you think they have to learn a new signature for their credit card receipts? Where does that knowledge lie? If Caroline knew how to ride a unicycle, would New Caroline?
These questions keep me up at night.
The body swap made sense in the context of the storyline, but not really the movie, if you know what I’m saying. There was no evidence up to that point that any of the Hoodoo worked, at all, for anything. Sure, some people didn’t cross chalk-lines, but it isn’t like they took a running start and mimed hitting a brick wall.
That woulda been SWEET!
So from a motivation standpoint, Caroline has no reason to believe in Hoodoo. Yet she has to for the bodyswap to work.
They repeat in the movie that this shit only works when you believe in it.
WHY BELIEVE IN IT?
There was no compelling evidence. Doesn’t it seem retarded to start believing in something that can’t hurt you otherwise.
Couldn’t the movie at least mention the irony there?
Although our heroine is fairly retarded. She never shows the slightest bit of basic competence. Befriend a cop, keep a journal, talk to your Black Friend more. Have her get Spider-man to help you out.
Caroline also has some weird sense of vigilante justice. She poisons an old lady without just cause and pushes her down the stairs! Take that, mother of the guy that is directing the Iron Man movie!
And our villains are pretty retarded too. Are you telling me that it is hard to find somebody who believes in Hoodoo in New Orleans? Just say you’ll teach them some shit or that you have a spell that will make them win money. Jeez. Why go through the trouble of hiring an hospice worker?
I say villains, mind you, but they really don’t come off as such. They are never really guilty of anything terribly despicable. They rough up Kate Hudson a little bit, but who can blame them for that? There is no terrible deeds going on, nor is there any dread of future events for most of the movie. Our main character chiefly battles spooky noises, the dark, stuff in glass jars, old records, a couple of mirrors, and the occasional dropped sponge.
Occasionally, she is vexed when somebody uses stain remover.
As for our “real villains,” well, for the most of the movie they are portrayed as victims and heroes. So at the end, is this a good thing, a terrible thing or what? What are we to say? “I should’ve expected the black folk all along?” Or maybe it is some sort of off-color joke about banging white women or those golden Oreos?
Man I hate those inside out Oreos. They taste terrible. Worst cookie ever. Although they are loads better than this low-carb, high iron Alpha-bits that my mother-in-law once bought. Man, that shit tasted like eating pocket change.
I guess the horror of this beast is supposed to come from becoming old before one’s time. The main character is trapped as an old person. It is a fate worse than death! She is feeble and can’t do anything for herself!
So in a way, the movie offers half the scares and thrills of visiting Nana in the home. Without the “Wheel of Fortune” natch!
Anyways, I guess the lesson to be learned in The Skeleton Key is to never trust a person who smokes cloves.
That’s not bad advice, really.
DVDs Kennedy got for Christmas
The Big Lebowski
Shaun of the Dead
Kronk’s New Groove (Actually for little Kennedy, but entertaining nonetheless)