Aug 302021

The Watcher/The Skeleton Key: Double Feature arrives on Blu-ray from Mill Creek Entertainment. These movies feature the talents of Kate Hudson, James Spader, Ernie Hudson and Keanu Reeves.



The Watcher/The Skeleton Key
— Double Feature —

Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller
Mill Creek Entertainment| R/PG13 – 96 min. / 103 min. – $19.99 | August 17, 2021

Date Published: 08/30/2021 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Joe Charbanic (The Watcher); Iain Softley (The Skeleton Key)
Writer(s): Darcy Meyers and David Elliot (story), David Elliot and Clay Ayers (screenplay) (The Watcher); Ehren Kruger (The Skeleton Key)
Cast (The Watcher): Keanu Reeves, James Spader, Marisa Tomei, Ernie Hudson
Cast (The Skeleton Key): Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, Peter Sarsgaard, Joy Bryant, John Hurt

Features: None
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85/2.35
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 45.73 GB
Total Bitrate: 29.87 Mbps (Skeleton Key) / 30.75 Mbps (Watcher)
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A



After years of pursuing psychotic killers in Los Angeles, FBI agent Joel Campbell (JAMES SPADER) wants out. And now his nemesis, serial killer David Allen Griffin (KEANU REEVES), has tracked him all the way to Chicago just to torment him. Before each murder, Griffin sends Campbell a photograph of his intended victim and dares him to find her before he strikes again. Now, with every tick of the clock, and amidst pulse-pounding action, this stone-cold killer turns up the heat.

Review: Seen this one a few times over the years, no idea why exactly, though I do tend to gravitate toward crime-thrillers and on paper The Watcher does fit the bill. The execution however was pretty lackluster and also bewildering why Spader and Reeves were cast in these roles, especially since obscenely Reeves would fit better as the FBI agent and Spader as the serial killer. However, even swapping the roles wouldn’t have helped. The direction, along with the editing, is choppy as hell and really isn’t very suspenseful and the cat-and-mouse dance never worked. 2.5/5

When Caroline Ellis (KATE HUDSON) takes a job in Louisiana’s bayous, she unlocks a deadly secret involving magic, conjure and sacrifice that pulls her into a terrifying world of strange, frightening and unexplained incidents. The key to escaping may lie in a decrepit attic, but if she dares to believe in what she discovers, everything she fears will become real.

Review: The Skeleton Key, being a supernatural-thriller, isn’t in my wheelhouse as I’m really not all that into the supernatural element as they generally work within a loose set of rules. This one is on the simple side of that but still never found it all that engaging despite some decent performances from Kate Hudson and Gena Rowlands. It’s also not very interesting and on the forgettable side. 2.25/5



No features were included.


VIDEO – 3½/5

The Watcher and The Skeleton Key are on the same disc and each presented in the original aspect ratios, 1.85 and 2.35 respectively. From my memory, neither of these films looked all that brilliant in 1080p high-definition anyway and the same can be said about these. I don’t think it these movies being on one disc was a detriment, but it’s also not ideal. Still, detail on both movies was alright and colors were on the muted side, however that was how the film was originally shot.

AUDIO – 3¾/5

Both movies come equipped with DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 tracks which I found to be more than adequate. Each one offers clear dialogue coming from the center channel and there was some okay depth from the chase sequences in The Watcher to the torrential downpour in The Skeleton Key. This isn’t anything that will wow you, yet still sufficient enough.


The Watcher and The Skeleton Key are two very different sorts of thrillers, what they do have in common is that neither one were very good even though they feature respectable actors. If you didn’t already own these on Blu-ray and don’t care about missing out on features that were on the Skeleton Key disc (Watcher only had a trailer), this might be worth picking up at a bargain price.

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