The Watcher is a classic horror film from the 1980’s, while The Skeleton Key is a modern suspense-thriller. Mill Creek releases both films on Blu-ray for the first time in their respective decades.
The Skeleton Key is a 2005 thriller film directed by Jon Cassar. It stars Kate Hudson, Michael Douglas, and Ty Burrell. The film was released on Blu-ray by Mill Creek Entertainment in January 2016.
When two Universal films are put together, The Skeleton Key comes out on top.
Plot of the Watcher:
A serial murderer teases an FBI agent and turns murder into a game.
Joel Campbell (James Spader) has deteriorated into a haggard, drug-addicted liability, and his sole task seems to be hunting down a serial murderer who has followed him from his previous station to Chicago, where Joel has moved. Joel spends his days in a migraine-ridden stupor, eating his meals at a shabby Vietnamese restaurant, and his peers think he’s a joke, but when serial killer David Griffin (Keanu Reeves as a charming psychopath) begins sending Joel photographs of his next victim, he promises that he’ll give Joel 24 hours to find her before killing her. Joel leads a task force to locate David’s next victim before they’re murdered, but the job proves impossible, as Joel’s squad fails twice before getting near enough to David to obtain a visual on him. David, a serial murderer who leaves no traces, loves his gruesome job (he uses piano wire to almost decapitate his female victims), but he appears to enjoy teasing Joel more than anything else. When David targets Joel’s psychiatrist (Marisa Tomei), Joel, who has love for her, will go to any length to confront David, who may have picked his final intended victim.
Keanu Reeves, who had recently finished the hugely successful game changer, made an unexpected choice for his co-star. The Watcher is a pretty typical serial killer thriller with an average screenplay littered with clichés (the FBI agent’s refrigerator has just ketchup and a solitary orange… riiiight.) Joe Charbanic, the film’s director, hasn’t done anything else before or after creating it. His style is full of Avid farting (jumpy, sped-up flash cutting) and confusing, jarring effects, which appeared to be a “in” style in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Aside from the fact that Reeves plays against type, the film works on a rudimentary level, but it’s not very memorable.
Plot of The Skeleton Key (2005):
When a caretaker is hired to work at a mansion deep in a Louisiana parish, he discovers that the estate is infused with voodoo power.
Caroline (Kate Hudson), a long-time caregiver for the elderly, accepts a long-term live-in job caring for Violet Devereaux (Gina Rowlands), an old lady whose husband Ben (John Hurt) is disabled due to a stroke. Caroline’s duty is to look after Ben, but Violet is often criticizing Caroline’s methods. Everything needs to be done a particular manner, and the ancient home is full of mysteries, hidden deep in a Louisiana parish. Caroline eventually gets the impression that the previous occupants of the house were voodoo faith healers of some kind and may have discovered a method to live eternally as she pokes about the basement. Caroline is drawn to the danger and gets entangled in the forbidden magic that is still functioning throughout the home. Caroline seeks assistance from a witch doctor, but she soon learns that the elderly residents of the home may have sinister intentions to use her to cast a spell to perpetuate the ancient magic, but she fights back with her knowledge… Is her faith, however, strong enough to win?
The Skeleton Key is an underappreciated supernatural horror treasure that improves with each viewing. The only thing that might have made it better is a darker tone. With a PG-13 classification, it attempts to satisfy everyone, which is great, but the film needed a little more terror and a terrible feeling of dread to drive it over the line into classic territory. Iain Softlley, the director, does an excellent job of juggling the hokum and suspense elements, and the film’s ending is very gratifying.
Mill Creek’s new Blu-ray double feature of The Watcher and The Skeleton Key combines these two Universal Pictures films on an one disc, and it’s a good bet for the price. There are no extra features provided. Transfers are more than sufficient.
The skeleton key review is a horror movie that was released in 2005. It was directed by Jonathan Mostow and stars Kate Hudson, John Hurt, and Sigourney Weaver.
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