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Skeleton Key
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When you think of horror movies, you expect certain things.  Very cheap "jump out and boo" tricks, hokey and stilted dialogue, and barely there plots.  Sometimes despite all this, you still enjoy yourself if you're a fan of horror movies.  And sometimes somebody can take such a shop worn path and still manage to screw things up.  Skeleton Key is the result of just such an act.
 
Skeleton Key tells the story of a young woman who likes taking care of the sick and dying.  One day she becomes fed up with the impersonal nature of the hospital she works for, and so she takes a job taking care of an elderly man in the backwoods part of New Orleans.  Predictably, her job leads her to a crumbling, run down, creepy house.  There she stumbles across shrunken heads, bones, and all sorts of grim symbols.  I must admit that when I saw the trailer for Skeleton Key, I had certain expectations, given the dark and occult nature of hoodoo(not Voodoo, which the film correctly describes is something entirely different).  However, the only thing dark here is the plotting.  Skeleton Key is one of the most muddled and inconsequential movies ever, just like much of horror in general.  The main character wastes no time going into Scooby Doo "I'll solve this mystery" mode, and she delivers her lines in such a wooden way that when she says "I don't believe in this stuff" you have a hard time believing her.
 
However that's not why I say the creators got things horribly wrong.  You can find fun in the hokiest horror movie because you rest easy knowing one thing.  There's always a monster or a ghost going on a rampage.  In Skeleton Key, you only see a ghost once throughout the entire movie!  It's towards the end when it hardly matters anymore.  Before that you get a bunch of slow moving scenes that go nowhere, lots of clanging and banging of the music, and false scares.  Everything else you can see coming a mile away.  Ultimately the only thing scary about this movie is the dialogue.  Boo!  Grade: D-

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