Scott Hardie: “It was ok.”

By now, the name of screenwriter Ehren Kruger in the credits all but guarantees a smarmy, mediocre script that seems to elbow you constantly to point out how clever it is. This is the hack who produced such unctuous let-downs as "Scream 3," "Reindeer Games," "Arlington Road," and the two "Ring" movies, all of which were so wrapped up in the ingenuity of their unguessable twist endings that they saw nothing wrong with their zero-dimensional characters and chasmal plot holes. Cursed with the same weaknesses as its forebears, "The Skeleton Key" aspires to better itself by borrowing local color from New Orleans and building an atmosphere of mounting dread, but it fails at both attempts. The movie simply doesn't know how to make its audience care what happens, especially about its dim-bulb protagonist as she stumbles her way through a mystery that Nancy Drew would have solved in the first act. It's mediocre filmmaking based on a mediocre script, and only the set designers and sound editors seem to make any effort to transcend the material. There's simply no compelling reason to see this competent but empty waste of time unless you're a sucker for any ghost story set in the Big Easy (like I was).

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