30+ Movies Like The Skeleton Key That Are Eerily Unsettling

30+ Movies Like The Skeleton Key That’ll Leave You Spooked (In A Good Way)

September 11, 2021 Updated October 11, 2021

the-skeleton-key (1)
Universal Pictures

Why have we watched The Skeleton Key, like, 100 times? First and foremost, it has all the elements of a good horror movie. And then there’s the fact that it drips with sense of place like Spanish moss from the enormous Southern oaks you’ll see in so many frames of the film. You remember the story, right? Kate Hudson plays a well-meaning hospice nurse named Caroline working for an older woman and her husband, who is paralyzed, in an unsettling New Orleans gothic house. The older woman gives her a skeleton key to the attic, where she finds a ton of ritualistic materials. Over time, she believes a type of folk magic called hoodoo caused the man’s stroke. Of course, if you loved seeing all that play out as much as we did, you probably wish there was a sequel. Luckily, there are other movies like The Skeleton Key if you’re looking for a solid scare with some supernatural themes to it.

While there might be some plot holes — like any good movie — the surprise ending is worth it, making Skeleton Key a perfect campy horror flick. A review of the film on RogerEbert.com puts it this way: “There’s a kind of moviegoer who likes a movie like this no matter how it ends. It’s about the journey, not the destination, even though the ending of The Skeleton Key really is a zinger. It’s just that — well, what did a lot of the other stuff have to do with anything? How do all the omens and portents and unexplained happenings connect? And what’s the deal with hoodoo? It doesn’t work unless you really believe in it, we’re told, but if you really do, it really does. Considering what happens when you do, I think it’s better if you don’t.”

Ready to be spooked some more? Keep reading to discover movies with similarly eerie vibes.

Unsettling Movies Like The Skeleton Key to Watch Next

1. Hide & Seek (2005)

Starring Robert DeNiro and Dakota Fanning, this movie will have you rethinking your kids’ imaginary friends. After his wife dies by suicide, DeNiro’s character takes his daughter, played by Fanning, to a country house outside of New York City to grieve. She doesn’t make any new friends, except Charlie, who turns out to be imaginary. But there’s nothing made up about his feelings towards her father and how far he will go to get the little girls’ time and attention. Creep alert? A solid 10.

2. Cold Creek Manor (2003)

The cast alone makes this movie like The Skeleton Key worth watching. Dennis Quaid and Sharon Stone play a married couple who get sick of the city and move to the country to rehab an old home. On RogerEbert.com, the place is described as “a property that looks like the House of the Seven Gables crossed with the Amityville Horror,” so you just know something terrible is going to happen when a hard-bitten guy played by Stephen Dorff offers to help them with the renovations.

3. What Lies Beneath (2000)

In this suspenseful flick, Michelle Pfeiffer and Harrison Ford play a married couple who seem to have a perfect marriage — but she doesn’t know that he cheated on her a year before. So, when she starts hearing weird voices and seeing apparitions of a young woman in the house, he (and she) assume that she’s losing her mind. Alas, the apparition is real and is coming for the couple, whether he believes her or not.

4. Secret Window (2004)

You’d think people would stop going out to country houses, given the premise of all of these horror movies. Johnny Depp plays a writer named Mort Rainey, who is going through an awful divorce from his wife, played by Maria Bello. He heads to a cabin upstate to write and work on his mental health, but he’s disturbed by a neighbor (John Turturro) who claims Rainey plagiarized his work. While there might not be ghosts or magic in this one, the tension definitely rises under the cabin roof, making it a compelling psychological thriller.

5. They (2002)

They tells the story of a young woman who used to have debilitating night terrors. She’s recovered her life — until a friend of hers dies by suicide, claiming that her own night terrors have returned. Then, her entire group of friends starts to be plagued by the same night terrors, and they have to work together to figure out what they mean. And how to stop them.

6. The Uninvited (2009)

A teenage girl has a nervous breakdown and is sent away to a mental hospital. When she returns home, she realizes things have changed: Her dad has a new love in his life, and her big sister doesn’t seem to want anything to do with him. It’s a mysterious storyline that leaves you guessing till the end.

More Movies Like The Skeleton Key to Add to Your Queue

  1. The Village (2004)
  2. Lights Out (2016)
  3. The Wretched (2019)
  4. Fragile (2005)
  5. The Others (2001)
  6. Case 39 (2009)
  7. The Lodge (2019)
  8. The Jacket (2005)
  9. Shutter Island (2010)
  10. The Orphanage (2007)
  11. Mama (2013)
  12. The Other Side Of The Door (2016)
  13. The Eye (2008)
  14. The Fog (2005)
  15. Hereditary (2018)
  16. Wind Chill (2007)
  17. Premonition (2007)
  18. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  19. Angel Heart (1987)
  20. Jessabelle (2014)
  21. Gothika (2003)
  22. Dark Water (2005)
  23. Dream House (2011)
  24. Identity (2003)
  25. Frailty (2001)
  26. The Reaping (2007)