The Skulls
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Product Description

Think of the Skulls as a collegiate Freemason's society--an ultrasecret organization that opens the doors of power to a few lucky Ivy League students, including school rowing star Luke McNamara (Joshua Jackson), a poor kid with a misspent youth. "If it's secret and it's elite, it can't be good," cautions his journalist roommate, but the lure of lavish gifts and cabal-like ceremonies in torch-lit stone chambers is too much to resist--until his roomie is murdered and his own Skull "soulmate" Caleb Mandrake (Paul Walker) is the number one suspect.

There's a campy kick to the initiation ceremonies, ancient rituals in dungeonlike alcoves filled with haze and shadow, performed by enthralled frat boys, but as Jackson flounders at the center of a Skull conspiracy it spins into ludicrous melodrama. See the college president become a thug for the Skull godfather! See street punks become high-tech criminal masterminds! See the conspiracy collapse under its own absurdity!

Jackson is pretty much a dud as the well-meaning hero, but Walker, with flashing eyes under furrowed brow, is mesmerizing as a haunted rich kid torn between a ruthless, overbearing father (Craig T. Nelson) and his conscience. Director Rob Cohen drives the film at a galloping pace and fills it with foreboding images, but his humorless solemnity finally buries The Skulls in a heap of clich¨¦s. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews:

  • Garbage
    I work at a video store, and I had heard this movie was bad, so for fun I decided to watch this movie before it came out. It was laughably horrible. I figured people would hate this film when it came out, but I have not heard ONE negative remark! People always complain about movies that are different and refreshing (like Titus and Magnolia), but no one seems to care that this movie is one of the worst of the year. Obviously, people don't have good judgment about films, so hopefully you do and don't buy this garbage....more info
  • Great trash
    This film is great, trashy fun. Of course, it's impossible to take it seriously. Inspired supposedly by Yale's Skulls and Bones, the movie has such incredible, unbelievable situations, that to enjoy it one has to see it as an unintentional comedy. My best scene in that sense would be when Joshua Jackson is interned by the baddies in a madhouse. It's such a ridiculous scene that you can't help laughing at it. The second-best situation would be the duel, and the father, telling his son after being shot the immortal line "You're not worth the trouble". Take it easy and laugh out loud. ...more info
  • Great movie
    I'll have to disagree with some people when they said it was ok and the last half wasn't good. I think this was a great movie and own it on dvd. You start off with Joshua Jackson working out. (Now that's a great start) It's about the Skulls a hush hush group that few get into. When Joshua Jackson gets a chance to join the group he joins. After that, he starts finding out bad things about the club that he's not too sure about. Joshua Jackson does great acting in the film, different from Dawson's Creek. I highly recommend this movie for people who like a little drama, a little action, and a plain good movie....more info
  • Good looking but horribly dumb
    This film is nicely shot and has a really good look to it, but these can't save it from a terrible script, wafer-thin plot, generally poor perfomances and lack of a single character with whom one could sympathise.

    Avoid....more info
  • ???
    Good movie. Good plot. Really three and a half stars. It's a little predictable. I would have liked it more if the ending was clearer. I had more questions when the movie ended than when it began. Was anyone punished for the murder? What happened to the kid who tried to kill himself???...more info
  • President Bush's Club
    The Skulls is obviously based on the society at Yale known as the Skulls and Bones Society of which the Bush's are perhaps the most famous members. This is of course a hollywood move and not a documentary so dont take it too serious. It is however a highly entertaining movie with a fairly descent plot. The straight to video sequel is dismal at best....more info
  • The skulls had me watching!
    This was a good movie about secret societies and how they operate in the world. Joshua Jackson plays a college student waiting for the Skulls to ask him to join and when he joins he realizes the great financial benefits and political power that goes with being a Skull. However, things begin to go wrong and Jackson finds that this great group he joined is not so great.

    The movie was well-paced, the acting good for the most part and the plot very well-designed. The ending was good but not great, but this is a good movie to see....more info

  • I want to bang my Skull against something....
    Joshua Jackson and Paul Walker are budding stars that will soon land themselves into feature films and be handed better scripts than The Skulls. It's obvious both actors have talent, and are a good movie away from being big name stars.

    The Skulls was mediocre at best. Actually, it was below mediocre. Was it watch able? Yes, but barely. The whole concept was pretty outlandish and rather silly. I can't imagine such a society existing to this extreme extent, but I'm sure there are ones that have the same practices.

    Rob Cohen did a terrible job of giving substance to the characters. I really felt no real feelings towards any of the performers because their backgrounds were either briskly explained or not interesting at all. It's as if Cohen had one thing in mind, and that was making this secret society as mysterious as possible, and totally forgot about his characters.

    Also, the street punks magically turning into brainiacs is unbelievable. There were many instances like this through out the movie that were down right clich¨¦ loaded.

    The Skulls turned me off for many reasons, and it's a shame because the basic, basic premise is quite intriguing. 2 Stars...more info

  • Almost one of the best
    This movie was alot like "School Ties" in its portrayal of the ivy league school. It showed a very realist view of the hazing and the societies that are in the media. It took a wonderful side of showing how who you are, and what you can do is part of the whole deal. It stayed at a very interesting level throughout the whole movie which came to me as a shock, and I was amazed at the end how the movie kept me into it the whole time. The acting is fairly good, and the plot keeps you watching through the whole movie and the ending is no let down. It will draw you and you still think about it once you have left the theater....more info
  • Well acted, but not much for guys to look at
    Joshua Jackson, best known as the eye candy on "Dawson's Creek," tries his hand at a dramatic role in this thriller loosely based on the Yale secret society that has reputedly been running the country to ruin through the mind-control of its illustrious alumni. Here the Skulls are involved in nothing so sinister: they just commit a few murders here and there, and Joshua avec girlfriend have to sleuth out the truth. There are a few suspenseful scenes, but if you're like most guys, renting this video mostly for the promise of some steamy shower or locker room bonding between Joshua and hunky co-star Paul Walker, be warned that pecs and biceps are in short supply....more info
  • a great, underrated film
    When I was home for Christmas break at my parents house I was bored. They have DSS and 10 movie channels.I came across The Skulls one night and was happy to watch it. I had always wanted to see it, but never bothered. Needless to say I saw that movie 5 times in those 3 days and didn't get sick of it.This is definitely a film worth watching. I thought it was an excellent performance from all of the cast....more info
  • Mediocre formula film
    I rented this film hoping to learn more about the secret society, Skull and Bones (or just Skulls for this film). We don't get to see much, other than some lame initiation rite and a brief ballroom dance party where beautiful ladies are merely there for the decoration as they are introduced to the new initiates. What follows is a second rate formula film to unravel the mystery of who's behind the coverup of the murder in the Skulls ritual room. I was nearly bored to tears. The only good things about this film were the music and the scene when Joshua Jackson's character flips out, accusing a police officer of switching the videotape to cover up the conspiracy. He did a great job in that scene, but the rest of the film seriously needed some work. After I finished watching it, I felt like the makers of this movie didn't know enough about the Skulls to really write and produce a stellar movie. I wanted to learn more about what a membership in Skulls means to people, besides having beautiful women thrown at them, sports cars of their dreams, and $100,000 checks made out to each member once they are officially part of the brotherhood. I wanted to know more about the tension between Mandrake and the Senator, as well as Mandrake and his own son. This film just glosses over it to move the plot along, and what you get is a snoozefest with marginal acting and story. If anything, this film does a service to secret societies, because people will walk away after viewing this film that there's nothing to worry about if members of our government and Wall Street are in the brotherhood. I hope a more serious film about the social impact of secret societies and its rituals will be made someday, and that such a script/story won't be sacrificed for the purpose of fitting the standard formula of the suspense drama. Skulls could have used a lot more suspense. Because of the mediocrity of this film, I won't even bother to watch any of its sequels. If it couldn't be done right the first time, there's no point in repeating the same formula with different casts....more info
  • What happened to Pacey?
    This movie stinks. I mean, it really does. It is a bad WB television movie gone wrong. The actors seem to know this also.

    Do not buy this. Rent it if you'd like..but you have been warned....more info

  • Very Good; Very Detailed; Very Revealing
    This is entertaining fare, and revealing in so many ways.
    Much of the criticism is about the plotting, and how the key events could have happened without the Skulls leaders doing anything to stop the lower ranks acting "wrongly". That proceeds from false assumptions. The central theme of the film is about a power play between two council leaders. Once you see that, then the events of the film fall into place, since the junior players in the events are pawns of the council members who are competing for the leadership of the Skulls. This film has more layers than an onion.
    The special FX used in this film are so invisible it is amazing. All the FX serve to further the story.

    The additional material is superb, and the commentary shows the production process, amongst other things, and the deleted scenes show how a movie is crafted into a flowing creative, vibrant entity.

    ENJOY...more info
  • Great movie for Josh Jackson fans
    I am a big Josh Jackson fan and altho the story had big holes in it, I really enjoyed it. It's a fun movie and I think overanalyzing it takes the fun out of it. It's not a GREAT movie... but it's a pretty good one.

    Josh did a great job portraying the underdog who realizes things are not at all what he thought. He sets to make things right. There's action and suspense. The cast really seems to enjoy working together.

    I love Josh Jackson's work and if it was truly horrible, I never would have been able to sit through it, much less buy the DVD to watch over again.

    It's a must-see for Josh Jackson fans. The extra scenes at the end of the DVD were enough to make my purchase worthwhile.

    This was Josh Jackson's first lead-role in a feature film (I think). I look forward to his future projects....more info

  • Bare bones entertainment
    In the dark halls once walked by ancient members of secret societies, one group in particular stands out and has survived and prospered...The Skulls. This opening introduction should have been a clue as to how absurdly dramatic this movie would be.

    Director Rob Cohen (Daylight, Fast & The Furious) has never been able to pull any gem from the movies he makes with the only exception being Dragon, The Bruce Lee Story. Instead, he usually creates moderately entertaining movies that try so hard to be more than they are. This was the last dramatic movie he made before moving into the even more flashy flair of The Fast & The Furious.

    The Skulls starts out promising, with good characters trying to deal with their real life and school. One in particular, Lucas McNamara, played by Joshua Jackson of Dawson's Creek fame, is trying hard to make something of himself, despite his poor roots and semi-criminal childhood. He does well but mostly plays a similar character to what he played on DC. Paul Walker, playing Caleb Mandrake, stands out showing some real emotion as the conflicted rich kid who befriends Lucas and battles his own conscious throughout the movie. You find yourself liking him, despite his `take no responsibility' personality.

    The real downfall of the movie is simply the switch in direction from Lucas' journey into sudden wealth and opportunity, to murder mystery. I think it would have been more instresting to see Lucas work his way into the society and find he is nothing like these people, and either find a way to use the Skulls abilities for good purposes. William L. Peterson, always good, plays Senator Levritt, who states this to Lucas early in the movie. This sounded like a promising start to the intrigue that could follow the young man who has never known what it's like to be rich or to have the ability to wield such power.

    But alas, the movie falls into bleak territory and barely digs it's way out. All in all, it's an entertaining movie of power, secret society rules superceding the law and discovery of a person's own moral code. A good combination that was clumsily executed but is still good on most levels.
    ...more info
  • Shocking and fun!
    This movie was about a a college frosh getting into this secret club thing. It was really fun to watch, not because of the actors but because I thought that it was a good movie with a good plot. All of the people I went to see it with were really cool and they too liked it....more info
  • Great Movie
    This movie is one of my favorite movies ever. It really draws me into the plot from the beginning. I am not usually a person who enjoys action films, but this one left me wanting to know more. I have not yet seen either of the sequels, but I don't think they can live up to how great this one was. One of my friends and I love to watch this movie together. ...more info
  • interesting thriller involving a secret society
    People, people, people! Please! I was reading some of the reviews for this movie. Seems some people rented/got this movie to "discover" those ancient secrets of such secret society or the Skulls and Bones. You really think they'll reveal them here?

    Anyways, Luke is offered a chance to join the Skulls. The thing is that Luke is different from the other pledge brothers. He isn't a legacy nor does he come from old money. So, this is a rare opportunity of a lifetime.

    In the middle of pledging or initiation rites, Luke discovers that his best friend, a student journalist, has committed suicide. Or was he staged to look like he committed suicide. Immediately, he suspects the Skulls. In a freakish way, the Skulls seems to know what Luke is thinking and doing.

    Luke wants to back out and report the society of its involvement of a friend's death to the police. However, wherever he turns, there's a Skull blocking his way. Will Luke be able to avenge his friend's death?

    Think of *The Skulls* as a collegiate version of *The Firm*....more info
  • President Bush's Club
    The Skulls is obviously based on the society at Yale known as the Skulls and Bones Society of which the Bush's are perhaps the most famous members. This is of course a hollywood move and not a documentary so dont take it too serious. It is however a highly entertaining movie with a fairly descent plot. The straight to video sequel is dismal at best....more info
  • President Bush's Club
    The Skulls is obviously based on the society at Yale known as the Skulls and Bones Society of which the Bush's are perhaps the most famous members. This is of course a hollywood move and not a documentary so dont take it too serious. It is however a highly entertaining movie with a fairly descent plot. The straight to video sequel is dismal at best....more info
  • Skull Shattering!
    SKULLOVE IT! I love this movie! I watch this movie like every other day! A sort of complicated story, it does very well!!...more info
  • Secret Society Thriller
    The Skulls was a lot better than expected. More than a decent time-waster, the script is well-written, and the plot a historically plausible what-if about a secret society of the rich and powerful, who pull the strings not just in society, but on each other.

    The story is about a poor but streetwise kid struggling to pay his tuition at Harvard. He displays abilities that set him above the crowd, so is invited to join the Skulls, an elite group of sons of Harvard alum, all of whom are wealthy, and some of whom have risen to powerful positions, such as judge and senator. The kid's bank account is full, and everything seems grand, until his roommate decides to write an expose on the Skulls, which ends in his gruesome death. Not wanting to be part of the coverup, the kid must use every ounce of his street smarts to end the Skull's grip on him, and bring the truth to light.

    The lead actor doesn't turn in a very strong performance, but the supporting actors more than pull their weight, so it balances out. The ending was surprising and the stunts, especially the driving, rock....more info
  • President Bush's Club
    The Skulls is obviously based on the society at Yale known as the Skulls and Bones Society of which the Bush's are perhaps the most famous members. This is of course a hollywood move and not a documentary so dont take it too serious. It is however a highly entertaining movie with a fairly descent plot. The straight to video sequel is dismal at best....more info
  • A JOKE ..
    This movie is a joke. IT's not a movie to make you feel anger, but definitely is a bad production. The plot is so full of holes I could not believe it! Acting is poor from beginning to end ( it's sad to see McDonald, one of the actors from "THELMA & LOUISE", in it ). The funniest part is to know that the "SKULLS" are highly secret. But the new recruited students accepted into it each receives a brand new Porsche, Ferrari, Thunderbird or whatever !!! Second funniest part is to know that the society is so well-organized that their leaders keeps a tape showing a cold murder is the same place and manner as all the others surveillance tapes they have !!! The duel sequnce in the end almos made me laugh, I thought it was a comedy. As for Joshua Jackson acting, forget it......more info
  • Watch and forget it - 2.5 stars!
    It's a pretentious story decorated with pseudo-medieval elements about the insides of a secret fraternity - the Skulls. A college graduate (J Jackson) becomes lured in by thousands of bucks suddenly appearing on his account (that he's in a desperate need of to continue his education), gets branded by hot iron on his wrist and has to wear a presented watch to cover the secret mark (how ridiculous - it won't take long to unmask the Skull, just take his watch off!). Soon his friend dies mysteriously while trying to penetrate the secret "temple" of the Skulls (it seems to be in the college cellar, but how the heck did they manage to dig out such a big cellar with near temple-high walls?). So Luke understands that life does not give out "free candies" and faces a simple dilemma.... The finale got my attention for 15 minutes, but last pathetic scene garbled the whole impression. Not to mention that, as often as not, love line of the movie was sacrificed to a quick fumble in the bathroom.

    Indeed, this wasn't a VERY BAD movie, at least it tried to make a difference from brain-dead rubbish on eternal problems of how to lose one's virginity, win a school beauty contest or escape the next-door maniac. However, the Skulls seems to be a group of over-grown tuxedo-addicted post-graduates whose politics, besides sponsoring fast canoe rowers (that's Luke) and squander money on posh cars and receptions, remain vague. Their initiation was preposterous: group of youngsters had to steal a serpent-like weather-wane. Luke and his friend did, but nonetheless all others have been enlisted anyway. Now wonder discipline among the Skulls is lax... and it goes on like that...

    Plot holes and leaps of logics, as well as half-baked idea of the Skulls, make this movie your last choice for a lonely evening when all other films have been rented out at your local rental-store....more info

  • Bad writing provides many unintended laughs
    There are those who believe that a movie critic is usually someone who wouldn't know how to make a movie if his or her life depended on it. I won't argue this point, but I do know that at the core of the process there is writing, which I do know something about. A movie script contains two kinds of writing and is usually composed in two columns. One column is the dialog, while the other contains notes about the setting, the tone and the actors' body language. Some scripts that a studio buys contain a great story but lousy writing. This has created a whole other profession, that of the script doctor. After watching The Skulls, I thought to myself, "Is there a doctor in the house?"

    The Skulls is about a secret society that has existed for decades in an Ivy League university. They never say which school it supposed to be, but since the letter 'Y' is seen several times, I suppose it's Yale. The alumni of this society are very rich and very powerful. To be selected to join it means that one has a leg up in life.

    Luke McNamara [Joshua Jackson] is a student from the lower middle class who is working his way through college. This is a stock character in such movies and is written to evoke sympathy in the audience, which is presumed to care less about the ins and outs of rich kids. Luke needs a lot of money to get through law school. The Skulls, he thinks, would be of great benefit to him. When he is chosen he is thrilled, but it doesn't take long for him to find out that there is now a barrier between him and his best friends, Caleb and Chloe [Hill Harper and Leslie Bibb]. When a grisly murder occurs in the society's mansion, Luke discovers he could lose a lot more than just his friends.

    This brings us back to the writing, which is so bad that it makes The Skulls enjoyable in a way no one intended it to be. It is one of those movies that make us laugh in all the wrong places. This is the kind of entertainment we watch in morbid fascination, gleefully hoping it gets even worse. In this, The Skulls does not disappoint. There is, for example, an initiation scene in which the new recruits are literally branded on the wrist. They are each then given a new Rolex watch to wear, I guess because this is a secret society. Give us a break! The dialog is so silly that it is impossible to tell if any of the young actors can act or not. Paul Walker, who plays Caleb Mandrake, has a lot of pained expressions on his face, but I can't say for certain if these looks pertain to the lines he is forced to utter....more info

  • President Bush's Club
    The Skulls is obviously based on the society at Yale known as the Skulls and Bones Society of which the Bush's are perhaps the most famous members. This is of course a hollywood move and not a documentary so dont take it too serious. It is however a highly entertaining movie with a fairly descent plot. The straight to video sequel is dismal at best....more info
  • An awesome movie
    I thought The Skulls was a very well done movie. I didn't expect Joshua Jackson to put on such a powerful, strong performance since he usually plays "the other guy", or the best friend. But, surprisingly, Joshua Jackson did an absolutely amazing performance. I definitely recommmend this to anyone. A simply wonderful well done and well acted movie....more info
  • A Star has risen from this movie
    I have been an entertainment critic for some time now and I dont think I started watching this movie with the intent to see an Oscar winning movie. I think in the end, with movies like this one, they have to be judged on whether the movie was entertaining or not; and this one was...just barely. What was surprising was that this movie was kept afloat by Paul Walker who plays more of a supporting actor rather than Joshua Jackson, the lead, who makes rather a mess of his role. Jackson has shown with this movie why he is usually restricted either to the small screen or to supporting roles on the big screen. Walker, on the other hand, turns in an inspired performance as a rich prep student that is torn between his own morals and conscience and his corrupted father. As said above, it is Walker who keeps this second rate "thriller" above water with his acting skills...there is much more to come from this young, talented and budding actor. Walker will be the one who will go on to play leading roles and graduate from the teen movie ranks while Jackson will be left wallowing in Walker's wake. Jackson's acting is one of the many pull downs of this movie. The movie ends with an unbelvievably cheesy scene and it is very irratating for the movie goer as he/she are left with many nagging questions...what happened to Walker's character after his attempted suicide? Not to mention all the holes of the story or the below mediocore acting of most of the cast or the dull directing of Rob Cohen or even the lack of development of any the barely know enough about any of them to evoke some sympathy. Despite the limitations of his character, script and directing, Walker, rises above all the dismalities of this movie and shines, and what makes the movie barely mediocore. The Skulls is just a stepping stone for better things to come for Paul Walker.

    Natasha Kaplinski......more info

  • It's no mystery
    This film lacks any of the suspense or intensity that makes good thrillers memorable. Cohen claims it is a message film aimed at teenagers headed toward college. The message I took away from it is find a better script before you start making your movie or it will wind up like this -- hackneyed and predictable.

    There are plenty of implausibilities and downright silliness, not to mention groaners in the dialogue and some serious over-acting.

    But if you think this movie is bad, just check out the sequel......more info

  • the worst.
    Whoa boy, I've seen some pretty lame flicks last year, but The Skulls definitely comes in as one of the worst. It's a mind-bogglingly stupid tale about a pretty boy (Joshua Jackson) who stupidly decides to join a secret society, and it seems all the members of this society, called The Skulls, are pretty dumb in their own rights, too. Of course, this didn't prepare me for the lame as heck finale, which features a duel, that's right, a duel involving two flintlock pistols....more info
  • Not what I expected.
    I got this movie, expecting to see a thriller based on fact. What I got instead was a teen-flick that seemed more like Scream than a movie about the powerful elite that (purportedly) runs countries and continents. Don't get me wrong however, this movie is definitely a thriller but it isn't sinister enough. The Skulls seem more like a group of spoilt brats than a highly efficient secret organization filled with the best minds.

    The story was not very credible, how do a group of teenagers bring down such a secretive society that is said to span the globe? Surely the Skulls are not so incompetent as to allow a teen-journalist to enter their most sacred chambers with such ease and steal all their secrets.

    There must be better movies about the skulls out there because this one was a real disappointment. I can only recommend this movie to those who like thrillers, just don't get this movie if you are expecting an expose on the skulls.

    There was one reviewer who said he would have liked to see Jackson and Walker more physically involved with each other. It amazes me that there are such deviants who watch these movies to fulfill their perverted fantasies. The movie was about the Skulls not about homoerotic fantasies....more info

  • [Three-and-a-half out of five] Updated attempt to copy Brotherhood of the Bell!
    Modern day attempt at old time expose
    of Secret Societies / Fraternity and
    not bad at all. Except for excessive
    profanity in orginal print that will
    keep some otherwise favorabley impressed
    away. TV version has a bit cleaned up.
    Supposed to be about Bush/Clinton/Gore/
    Robertson cult known at Yale University
    as Skull and Bones. Good bit of research
    done by Hollywood Director, but nowhere
    near as effective as Oliver Stone's JFK
    or Michael Moore's best (Fahrenheit 9/11
    or Roger and Me). Good effort nonetheless!
    For a new generation, who better take this
    as a warning. See also: Alexandra Robinson's
    books!...more info