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Belittling Horror Excessively: The Skeleton Key04:17 PM -- Wed October 26, 2011

This is a movie review... I will not outright spoil things, but if you want to really experience a movie fresh and clean, there is information below that will dirty you up! So beware of mild semi-spoilers.

Synopsis: Deep in the swamps of Louisiana, a girl gets a job doing in-home care of an old man who's had a stroke and can't talk. The man's wife is not too keen on hiring her, but needs the help. They have no mirrors anywhere in their house. The girl is quite curious about what's up in their attic. As you can imagine, bad hoodoo ensues.

Scariness Type: There's a few false-scare jumps (somehow they managed to avoid having a cat jump out and hiss at people though, it's amazing how much cats do that in movies), but otherwise it's just tension and mystery. This is more of a thriller than a horror movie.

Rating: 3/5 Chicken Feet.

Upsetting: I wasn't scared by any monsters, but I was sure horribly uncomfortable seeing how intensely flooded their yard got when it rained. I don't know if that's my California sensibilities, or the fact that my current yard is very adversely affected by heavy rains (and like in the movie, I live on a dirt road), but it causes me great discomfort.

Good Stuff: There's a mystery, and you really don't know what kind it's going to be - are there ghosts, is the homeowner out to get her, is it a curse, did she poison her husband, what's the deal? And in the end, it's a little more complicated than all of that. There are no big shocks and surprises, but it does twist around a fair amount, and the movie you see in the end isn't what you thought you would be seeing at the beginning. So that kept my interest going as things kept changing. I feel like I'm not giving it enough credit, because I like what the twists ended up twisting to. No big shocks, but fun minor surprises. While I don't want to see the movie again, it is interesting to think back to earlier scenes and see them in light of what I know to be true now. And as I like to point out when a movie is kind of middle-of-the-road, it's got good acting, sets, lighting, all that big-budget Hollywood pizazz that's pretty much a given with a big budget.

Bad Stuff: In the end, I know I just said it twists around a lot, but it's also rather predictable. Not over the whole arc, but when a new piece of information comes your way, that information pretty much leads right where you'd expect it to. I was kind of counting on a big turnaround at the end, but I didn't get that.

My Take: Nothing really wrong with this, it was reasonable experience. It's a true 3/5. It works, it's okay, it's not pointless and flat, it has a twisty little story to tell, which is better than a lot of movies that are just straightforward from beginning to end. I don't have much else to say. It's just okay, and I'm glad it is of sufficient twistiness that I don't want to spoil it.

Artistic Nonsense: This is a pro-skepticism movie. Don't believe in things without evidence, or bad things will happen. That's just plain good advice.

Our next movie will be Paranormal Activity 2, which finally is one that I know will be scary, because I saw the first one! I wasn't super crazy about it, but it was quite creepy. I guess we're straying dangerously close to mockumentary territory again... it's a "found footage" movie, a la Blair Witch, but you know, those are probably the scariest kinds of movies. They feel real.
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