Parents' Guide to

The Skeleton Key

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Creepy thriller that's too scary for younger kids.

Movie PG-13 2005 104 minutes
The Skeleton Key Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 14+

Jump Scary

This movie is creepy good. It will make you jump. But it is dark, lots of hoodoo and black magic, lots of rainstorms and ghostly stuff, freaky and intense. There is some violence, a scene of a lynching and burning them afterwards. Fight scene at the end...disturbing images throughout of the dying man struggling to communicate. But if you want to curl up with someone and be scared, this is a good movie for it. Full of good acting.
age 13+

Very well made scary movie

The Skeleton Key is a scary Kate Hudson movie that will satisfy if you like films of this sort. It has good writing, very realistic acting, and a scary thrilling plot with just enough twists and turns. This film will keep you guessing and wondering ritht up until the big finale. It's a movie that I highly recommend to anyone 13 and over, as long as you like scary movies. It's not overly violent at all, has mild profanity and absolutely no sexual content.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (6 ):

According to legend, the mansion was once home to a family who kept a pair of black servants, Papa Justify (Ronald McCall) and Mama Cecile (Jeryl Prescott Sales). Caroline discovers their pictures hidden around the house, along with various conjurations and rings shaped like snakes.

This is a scary and disturbing movie. Not surprisingly, especially in a film about a girl who wants so badly to make amends for her personal past, the black couple's story represents (in abruptly edited, sepia-toned flashbacks) the definitive onus of U.S. history, involving white fear of blackness, white property anxieties, and white violence in the form of lynching. "The house is theirs as much as ours," mutters Violet. Everyone knows that white folks meddling in black folks' enchantments never works out in the movies. And so Caroline falls into trouble, not quite knowing whom she's helping and whom she's battling.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: August 12, 2005
  • On DVD or streaming: November 15, 2005
  • Cast: Gena Rowlands , Kate Hudson , Peter Sarsgaard
  • Director: Iain Softley
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Universal Pictures
  • Genre: Horror
  • Run time: 104 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: violence, disturbing images, some partial nudity and thematic material
  • Last updated: September 26, 2023

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