The Skeleton Key

Colosseum (4005939667023)
Varèse Sarabande (0030206667028)
Movie | Released: 2005 | Film release: 2005 | Format: CD, Download

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# Track Artist/Composer Duration
1.Death LetterJohnny Farmer/Organized Noize3:39
2.Opening Titles3:00
3.Come On In My KitchenRobert Johnson2:49
4.Barefoot DancingBlackbud3:42
5.Ben Escapes3:12
6.Do Whatcha WannaRebirth Brass Band3:24
7.61 Highway BluesMississippi Fred McDowell3:11
8.Violet's Story2:28
9.Hoodoo Woman2:45
10.God Moved On The WaterBlind Willie Johnson2:59
11.The GoldrushJoe Washbourn4:18
12.Saving Ben4:41
13.Iko IkoThe Dixie Cups2:04
14.The Conjure Room5:53
15.Conjure of SacrificeWalter Breaux, Bruce "Sunpie" Barns, Fawn Lohnee Harris, Eluard Burt II & Alfred Roberts2:40
16.Thank You Child2:04
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The Skeleton Key - 05/10 - Review of Tom Daish, submitted at
Ah, the soundtrack reviewer dichotomy; love Edward Shearmur, hate rubbish horror scores. So, when the two come together, what to think? Well, firstly, there isn't that much overt horror in The Skeleton Key and the music is as much about the deep south setting as about musical chills. The twanging guitar of the Opening Titles immediately reveals the place, while the eerie strings reveal the mood. I then struggle to find much else to say about the score. It bounces from the deep south sound, which in itself, is a touch creepy, conjuring up swamps and hicks in equal measure, to some action, such as Ben Escapes and Saving Ben (presumably not Gentle Ben, the well known swamp dwelling bear) and finally some tribal percussion to conjure up hoodoo (magical healing, apparently), notably in Conjure of Sacrifice.

Curiously, most reviewers have found the mixture of blues tracks within Shearmur's score to be effective, but not really being a fan of the 'my dog's dead, my wife's left me, I'm an alcoholic, but I still love God' school of song writing, I can't say that they did much for me. Some enhance the dense and rather oppressive mood, but an equal number (Do Watcha Wanna, for example) are quite upbeat leaven the atmosphere. Shearmur's music is generally well wrought, only clanking away unpleasantly during a couple of brief passages, but is really a touch unmemorable. The number of positive write ups for The Skeleton Key is a genuine surprise. For my money, a passable genre entry, but from a composer with so many much more engaging and finer scores in his catalogue, somewhat disappointing.
This soundtrack trailer contains music of:

Signs (2002), James Newton Howard (Movie)
Original Trailer Music, Synchronic Music (Trailer)
Piano Trio in E Flat, Franz Schubert (Trailer)

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