Inside Pulse DVD Review – The Skeleton Key



Iain Softley


Kate Hudson……….Caroline
Gena Rowlands……….Violet
Peter Sarsgaard……….Luke
Joy Bryant……….Jill
John Hurt……….Ben

The Movie

When I first saw this movie, I commented that Kate Hudson stood out and went well beyond what I thought she was capable of. I also said that this movie was fantastic. Upon seeing it a second time, I stand by my words.

Set in Louisiana, this is an old fashioned ghost story that will freak you out. Caroline is a hospice worker who wants to start nursing school. She is constantly looking to make up for her past, where she wasn’t around to help her father before he died. She takes a job working as a live-in caretaker in a plantation house in the Louisiana Delta. Her job is to take care of Ben Devereaux who has become partially (almost fully) paralyzed by a recent stroke, which occurred when he was in the attic. The placing of that means something.

Ben’s wife Violet seems to be an old fashioned woman who is uncomfortable with having another person care for her husband, but accepts it at the urging of her estate lawyer, Luke. While the relationship between Caroline and Violet is testy at the least, it will become downright violent once Caroline learns the secrets of the house and of hoodoo.

Like I said, Kate Hudson does a fantastic job in this film. She is believable and plays her character so well that you actually feel yourself drawn to her plight throughout the film. Gena Rowlands does an equally fantastic job and utters a hilarious line towards the end of the film that you will have to see to laugh at.

Score: 9.5

The Video

Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1. No transfer problems here. Any scratchiness you may see is intended.

The Sound

English, Spanish and French in Dolby Digital 5.1. I watched the English for obvious reasons and it sounded just fine.

The Extras

Deleted Scenes with alternate commentary: Director Iain Softley goes through the movie with deleted scenes apparently inserted. There was no option to just play the deleted scenes that I could find. Call it a wash.

Behind the Locked Door – Making The Skeleton Key: Incredibly short yet informative piece on the making of the film.

Exploring Voodoo/Hoodoo: No, Widro is not in this. This is short, again, but an interesting piece on the history of the religion of voodoo and the practice of hoodoo and the differences between the two, especially the dedication difference.

Recipe & Ritual: Making The Perfect Gumbo: Don’t blink or you’ll miss the recipe. Included chicken feet. Yummy.

Blue in the Bayou: This is a really cool piece looking at the historical bands and groups in Louisiana. The first thing I thought of was wondering where these people were now in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Kate Hudson’s Ghost Story: Cute, but I’ve been on ambulance calls that were scarier than her ghost story.

Plantation Life: An interesting historical piece with two plantation owners from Louisiana. Tells the tale of how slaves lived and what it amounted to, dollar wise, in today’s society. Brief yet again.

Casting The Skeleton Key: The usual fluff piece about how the actors got their parts.

John Hurt’s Story: John Hurt does more talking than he does in the movie and reads a slavery story.

A House Called Felicity: The story of how they used the Felicity plantation rather than a normal movie set. Additionally, this shows the modifications they made to the property to achieve their desired effects. Brief one more time.

Gena’s Love Spell: Gena Rowlands reads a spell on how to get someone to think pleasant thoughts of you. I’m not sure if it works.

All in all, the features leave something to desire. They are good, don’t get me wrong. As I said, they are just very short and it feels as though there is more story to tell within them.

Score: 8.5