Kate Hudson portrays a caregiver who recently lost her father. She takes an assignment at a gothic mansion owned by Gena Rowlands and the bedridden John Hurt. Things go bump in the night and Nurse Hudson goes to investigate. At first she suspects patient abuse, but eventually the pretty nurse learns the occult differences between hoodoo and voodoo.
The strength of "The Skeleton Key" are the performances. From the low key scenes featuring discussions over ice tea to the violent emotional ones, Rowlands and Hudson hold audience interest. It is a film where throw away scenes provide important exposition double entendre. One dialogue scene about cultural morays and tattoos features a payoff during the film's climax.