“ Genre: Crime & Thriller - Thriller / Theatrical Release: 2000 / Director: Rob Cohen / Actors: Joshua Jackson, Hill Harper ... / DVD released 10 April, 2003 at Universal Pictures UK / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, PAL, Widescreen „
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I actually really enjoyed this scary movie. I was younger when I watched it, but I remember enjoying it and watching it more than once. I was very in love with Paul Walker at the time so that may have helped my enjoyment of the film. This is a typical scary movie from the early 2000's, It has the same feeling as the other scary movies of that time such as "I know what you did last" and "Scream". However, I can say that I did enjoy watching this movie.
This movies story is about an extremely secret society of young men at Yale college who have some very prominent men in some very important places high up in the world who belong to this elite society. Paul Walker plays one of the pledges named Luke McNamara, who have been chosen to pledge to this society, because of his athletic background. He is a very talented rower who comes from a somewhat meek background, unlike a lot of the other pledges.
Luke is blinded at first by all of the glamour and the money. One of the first presents he receives from this elite group is a really expensive brand new convertible sports car. However, when they are asked to perform some pretty unthinkable tasks, Luke gets suspicious and stumbles upon a secret that puts him in grave danger from the skulls who will stop at nothing to keep their identities and deeds committed safe. Now Luke and his friends are in a fight for their lives running from the group that was supposed to be embracing Luke as a brother.
This movie is extremely suspenseful and exciting and gives you a good scare. Paul Walker may not be the best actor in the world or even close to it, but he is extremely attractive and it makes up for his mediocre acting skills.
As I am a big fan of Joshua Jackson's and Paul Walkers, I new that I would like this film so I got money of my da to hire it out. This is the story Luke McNamara(Joshua Jackson) has always wanted to join the skulls and its a dream come true for him as he has worked hard unlike the other ones who get in because their dad is in charge. Then when Luke and his friends Will Beckford (Hill Harper) and Chloe (Leslie Bibb) are just about to eat pizza the phone goes, the person on the other end tells Luke that he has 40 seconds to get to the pay phone out side if he wants to be re-born again. He then picks up the phone outside and he has to get to the science room within 20 seconds when he gets their he see's a drink, when Luke picks it up he discovers the skull symbol at the bottom of it and without a doubt he drinks it. Next thing is the ones that have been picked to be Skulls are all lying in coffins as if they have been re-born. When Luke and the others get out of their coffins they notice that someone is still inside and so Luke goes over and opens it and Caleb Mandrake(Paul Walker) jumps out to scare them all. After that 2 leaders appear and tell them all that they have to do a series of traditional rituals to test them, the ones that can do it will get rewarded. They are each given a watch and a book to keep, they are told 'a skull above any other'. Each of the skulls is assigned a soulmate and Luke and Caleb are together they become best of friends that is until Luke finds out that his friend Will is killed. Will who doesnt trust the Skulls is doing a story on them and breaks into Caleb's car when he is busy, and as Caleb left his book and key to the Skulls, Will takes them and goes to have a look round the place so he can take pictures. Caleb goes back to his car and notice's that his book and key have been taken he finds Luke to see if he could have his key, when he gets ins
ide the place where all the skulls go he see's Will, he tells him to give him his stuff back but he wont give him them and trys to run for it. But when Will is up on the ledge and Caleb is beside him he falls and dies. Caleb tells his dad that he has done something wrong and that they should phone the police but his dad says that, that is the wrong thing to do and he will sort it out but he must run out of there first. When Caleb's dad people go in they notice that Will isnt dead but they push his neck back and kill him they say that the best thing to do would be to set it up and make it look like he commited suicide. Luke is very upset and when he is clearing out his room that him and Will shared he finds pictures and Caleb's book, he then knows that his friend didnt commit suicide that he was found out and killed. Luke goes to the skulls and demands to know what is going on and they tell him that Caleb didnt mean it but there was nothing that they could do. When Luke goes to his other friends he asks them for help, he then follows one of the men in charge of the video tapes, and he gets the one for the day Will was there. When he watches it he see's what happened that he was still alive when he fell but Caleb's dad had him killed. Luke gets sent away to a mad people's home and Chloe goes to Caleb and tells him that the strange thing was that Will was still alive when he left him but he tells her to go. People try to kill her too but she manages to get away. Senator Ames Levritt is the one that takes Chloe to Luke and helps her to get him out of the place, then when they are away he tells her to remind Luke that if he lives by the rules he dies by the rules. After that Chloe goes and saves Luke and he goes to The Skulls party that they are having and demands to fight Caleb. They go out side and they get to pick a gun to use in this fight and they take 10 steps away, when its
time to shoot Caleb cant go throught with it and Luke drops his gun, Caleb says dad and his dad is about to shoot Luke when Caleb shoots his own dad. When Caleb runs over to his dad, his dad says that he is a disappointment. When he hears that he goes over to shoot himself but Luke goes and saves him. Later Senator Ames Levritt (William Petersen) asks him if he wants to be a leader with him as Litten Mandrake will never be a skull again, Luke turns him down and goes away with Chloe. Overall I thought this film was brillant and if you like action/thriller type films then you will really like this one.
I was still annoyed at having wasted £2.50 on hiring out Billy Elliot so i was in two minds on whether to hire out The Skulls. Egged on by my 15 year old daughter who fancies Paul Walker and Joshua Jackson,the two stars of this film,i decided to hire it out. Anyway the next stop was the off-license,i dont know about you but a video is much better with a nice bottle of red wine handy and then come the end of the film if its not that good you have past caring. Well on to the film its self,its about an elite organisation specially chosen,needless to say the two young stars are picked to join the skulls. Unfortunately a friend of Jacksons is killed and this leads him to reconsider if the Skulls is what he wants,but this leads to him being beaten up and builds up to a great ending. I really enjoyed this film and from a teenage viewpoint,so did my daughter but i think she liked it for different reasons than myself. So i can recommend this video to you,if you havent seen it hire it and if your local video shop doesnt have it for goodness sake dont be hiring out Billy Elliott,and i believe Tesco have a good red wine offer!!
A secret society so powerful, it can give you anything…at a price. That is the subtitle to "The Skulls," a new thriller by Rob Cohen. The film is entirely fictional, although it claims to use concepts behind a real secret campus society called Skull and Bones. This film rips off the outline of the society's reputation and controversy, but the filmmakers should have ripped off even more-as much as they could have. At first glance this movie, with its ironic principles and mysterious overtones, sounds as if it may be something of interest, and extremely externally it is. However, if you are a filmgoer who likes films with the slightest hint of intelligence or consistence, you will discover "The Skulls" is a horrendous production. Joshua Jackson, is cast as a college student named Luke McNamara. His roommates are the rich and beautiful Chloe (Leslie Bibb), whom Luke has a forbidden crush on, and an African American student journalist named Will Beckford (Hill Harper). Luke is a very busy young man. He is a varsity rower, works in a fast food restaurant, is a full time student, and rides his bicycle everywhere. Luke also has an unsettling history: his father passed away when he was a baby and has no mother. Even so, due to his strong will, an elite force chooses him as a candidate for membership to the top-secret society The Skulls. Another key character in this film is Luke's other friend, Caleb Mandrake (Paul Walker), who is popular among young girls and is muscularly attractive in appearance. His father, Litten (Craig T. Nelson) is running for Supreme Court. Litten is also a judge for the Skulls, heads the society along with Sen. Ames Levitt (William Petersen). Caleb is under high amounts of pressure by his demanding father who expects his son to live up to the family name. This is one cliché I have had enough of lately. Inside the Skull's headquarters, there are surreal and enticingly designed sets. Th
ey include a pool filled with black coffins, many dark hallways, private trap doors, concealed dungeons, several cement arches, and a creepy collage of ornamentation. During a business introduction, the society provides prostitutes for the members. Other benefits include money being casually added into bank accounts, free sexy sports cars, college acceptance, and protection against outsiders. All of this heavenly treatment soon becomes distant and inferior to Luke after Will dies mysteriously. The Society is first developed through casual conversations. Entrance is like playing a giant video game. The characters are forced to undergo tests to prove their strength? Their bravery? Their endurance? Their strategy? We never learn about the Skulls enough to understand what happens. To make things worse for "The Skulls," its stakes are simply not high enough-or perhaps there is too little conflict. What little tension present is not introduced until the story is well on its way into the second half. The movie is not challenging, involving, or thought provoking. Partially to blame is the lack of empathy for the main character. There is no narrative connection between Luke and the audience. Half way through the story he becomes absolute, then miraculously back in action. The rest of the characters are mechanical, one-dimensional plot puppets. No one has a mind of their own. All actions, or should I say reactions, are cause and effect notions, developing little tension or depth. As if the father-son strives were not enough, the movie also features a romantic cliché between Chloe and Luke. The audience never cares about this romantic subplot because it is never developed or examined. Leslie Bibb and Joshua Jackson do not create passionate character chemistry. Paul Walker, whose horrible "Meet The Deedles" still wreaks in the back of my mind, once again struts his flaunting character around like an arrogant robot. He recites his
aimless dialogue as if mechanically programmed. As bad as "The Skulls" is, I still would have never reasoned a conclusion like this. I have no idea what the filmmakers were thinking when they decided to portray an ending consisting of a duel between Caleb and Luke to withdrawal truth behind a death. What does a dead student, a secret society, a beautiful girl, and an old fashion sharp shooting challenge have in common? In one scene, a chairman of the Skulls asks Luke if he has any questions. "Millions," he responds inquisitively. After watching "The Skulls," we know exactly how Luke feels.
I went to see the Skulls last night, after a mix-up, which meant us turning up to the cinema three hours early for 6th Day. It turns out I’m not as good at reading as I thought I was (I’m easily confused you see). The Skulls is an action/suspense film set around one of the Ivy League colleges in America. The Skulls is one of the mysterious secret societies which selects only the elite of the colleges each year. The Skulls is mainly aimed at a teen audience. The main characters in the film are the young, attractive stars we are accustomed to seeing in these teen films. Joshua Jackson plays Luke McNamara, leading oarsman in the rowing team, and all round good guy. It’s hard when watching not to make associations with Pacey, the character he plays in Dawson’s Creek, as they have very similar personalities. Luke comes from a poor background and is banking on being accepted into the Skulls as they pay for tuition through university. When Luke is finally accepted, his friends Will and Chloe are disgusted with him. Will voices his opinions by saying “Something that is elite and secret can’t be good”. Will and Luke nearly come to blows over it, and Will storms out. Once they pass the initiation test, they are paired off with another of the new inductees to the Skulls. Luke is paired with Caleb Mandrake, son of the Chairman of the Skulls. It is around this stage that the benefits of the Skulls are made clear. Their debts are cleared, Luke has 20,000 dollars placed in his account, he his given a luxurious room, and a wonderful car. However, Luke is beginning to see the darker side of the Skulls, they are a dark organisation, concerned only with themselves. They see themselves as above the law – “The rules of the skulls supercede those of society”. Unbeknown to Luke, Will breaks into Caleb’s car and steals his rulebook and key to get into the Skull’s building.
Will is trying to write and expose on the Skulls to sell to the papers. Caleb finds him there and a fight ensues. Luke is up late working, but can’t concentrate, so he decides to go down to the paper room to try and work things out with Will. When he gets in he finds his friend hanging from the rafters in an apparent suicide. After the funeral, Luke finds some of the documents about the Skulls Will had been writing, and he suspects that is was more than suicide, so he has to get the security tapes that document what happened that night, and his search for truth begins. The Skulls is a fairly typical film of this genre. If you have seen The Firm, you’ll have a good idea what to expect from this film – lot’s of running away from the Skulls, and twists and turns as Luke finds that the Skulls are always one step in front of him. The film is alright, nothing special. I found it bit long-winded at times and had difficulty maintaining interest in it. There are a number of twists in the end, people turn out not to be as you expect them, then turn back again. It isn’t confusing, but it keeps you interested in the film. The film is well shot. The action mainly takes place in the college, one of those beautiful old buildings steeped in history. There are a number of night scenes, moodily shot and dark which heighten the suspense somewhat. There isn’t anything out and out unpredictable in the film, you won’t jump and the chases stand out like sore thumbs. Good performances are given all round. I think Joshua Jackson is a great actor, and he also shows just how strong he is in this film, competing in all the rowing scenes himself, and doing plenty of running. The supporting cast are all good actors, have to say I’ve never seen any of them before, but they didn’t do badly. Hill Harper (Will) and Leslie Bibb (Chloe) both give great supporting roles. It isn’
t a classic film by any standard, but if there’s nothing else on at the cinema (or you turn up too early like I did), then it might be worth checking out if you are a fan of action films.
The Skulls is your typical American teenage film like 'Scream' or 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'. I would definately recommend this film. The storyline is steady all the way through, I didn't get bored at any time. Basically the film is about a group of people at university who are chosen to be in a group called 'The Skulls'. Before being accepted there are all of the usual rituals to go through and some unusual ones. Once they are acceptable they start receiving gifts, new cars, money put into their accounts. They are also favoured by other Skulls members making it very easy to get into Uni or getting a job! As you would expect things are great at first then everything starts to go wrong. I didn't particularly notice any good music in the film but I was quite engrosed in the story so might have missed them. If you like Scream then you should definately go and see The Skulls, if not, wait for the video.
What a superb film! Joshua Jackson a.k.a. Pacey from Channel 4’s Dawsons Creek stars as orphaned Lucas McNamara in this intriguing film about a secret society called - yes you’ve guessed it – The Skulls. Lucas McNamara has two dreams, firstly to go to Harvard Law School and become a successful lawyer and secondly to win the heart of Chloe (Leslie Bibb – Private Parts), one of his closest friends. Both dreams seem out of his reach as the fees to go to law school are beyond his means (around $40,000) and Chloe is from a rich family - as an ordinary guy she is out of his league. One night, out of the blue Lucas receives a mystery phone call which send him on an frantic chase around the campus to reach one after another ringing telephones until finally he ends up in a science lab where a glass marked with a skulls says ‘Drink Me’ (very Alice). After waking from a deep sleep in a coffin Lucas wakes up to find others all keen to become members of the society. After various initiation ceremonies each new Skull member is ‘buddied’ with another, Lucas’s buddy is Caleb Mandrake (Paul Walker: Varsity Blues, She’s All That and Pleasantville fame), whose father is the president of The Skulls. Another more established member of The Skulls is the Senator who befreinds Lucas and offers to be there whenever help is needed. Lucas is rewarded for his initiation with a shiny new car and is surprised to find $20,000 in his bank account. Life is good for Lucas except for being shunned by his friend Will Beckford (Hill Harper), who has heard tell of The Skulls and fears for his friends safety. Will begins investigating the Skulls but is caught by Caleb in the underground headquarters and a chase ensues which ends in the death of Will. Caleb panics and calls his father who tells Caleb to go and all will be dealt with. When Lucas finds Will hung from the ceiling in his room and
then finds Will’s portfolio of information about The Skulls he puts two and two together and comes up with the truth. He confronts The Skulls and sickens himself by accepting a pre-accepted entry to Harvard as a pay off for keeping quiet about Wills death. Lucas soon comes to his senses and enlists Chloe’s help to avenge the death of his friend. But The Skulls are always watching. Lucas hatches a plan to steal a security tape recording of the night of Wills death in The Skulls lair. Lucas suceeds in stealing the tape and an gripping twist follows when Lucas and Chloe find out that Will was still alive after Caleb’s departure. The death of his friend was murder. He takes the tape to the police only to find that they are in on the cover up and there seems to be nowhere to turn. Lucas is caught and taken to a mental hospital where he is pumped full of drugs. Luckily he is rescued by Chloe and the Senator who seems to have a hidden agenda in his wishes to help Lucas. Lucas recovers in time to appear at The Skulls meeting and finding a chink in the rule book of The Skulls challenges Caleb to a duel. Caleb’s father tries to step in on behalf of his son but the duel goes on. Caleb weakens as Lucas and he walk their ten paces before turning to shoot, Lucas drops his gun and reminds Caleb of the truth about Wills death. The gun fires………..and Caleb shoots his own father. And the Senators hidden agenda? You will have to see for yourself! This movie has a good enough plot to hold the attention and appeal to all age groups. The soundtrack is excellent and a mixture of well known and not so known actors/actresses providing that extra allure.
I have to admit the idea of seeing this film was not mine. I went with a massive fan of Joshua Jackson who of course is Pacey in Dawsons Creek. It was nice to see him do a serious role, although I kept expecting him to break into Pacey mode at any time. The film focuses on a secret society at a smart University. The society is called The Skulls, and is very exclusive. They give you everything you desire, but at a cost. Jackson's character - Lucas Macnamara, soon discovers the darker side of the society, and suffers accordingly. The movie is like the firm, and Devils Advocate, with strange goings on and 2 faced characters, and a few decent plot twists. It isn't the best film, as some of the twists are predictable and the film has its weaker moments, especially when Jackson is absent. With a stronger supporting cast, this may have been great, but it remains second in line to things like Devils Advocate. As for Jackson, he will be a great actor, and its not a bad film at all, but it's not great.
To read what I think about this film you have to know where and why I actually watched it a couple of months ago. I was on a 9 hour flight to Mexico to get married in secret and obviously had some time to kill. They showed a number of films on the plane, America Beauty, Ninth Gate and Skulls. I had read a small bit about the Skulls in Empire magazine which had only previewed the film with a roughly outline, so I decided to watch it to while away the hours. The story is about a young man just joining University, but does not have that much money. However there is a secret society at this University, called the "Skulls", who will fund his education and his personnel life. This society is made up of the CIA, Senators and various V.I.P's who joined the Skulls when they were at the same University many years ago. He is selected and others to join this society, but a journalist friend of his begins to investigate the society and is killed by one of the other Skull members. This leads to him investigating and wanting to leave the society, something that no one has every done. So cue conspiracy theories, bent police men and a group of students fighting against the odds. There is a small twist at the end of the story, but not good enough to warranty watching the whole film. The acting is average, but the plot is very old hat i.e Firm, Devils Advocate and Eyes Wide Shut. If like me you have a couple of hours of dead time then watch this film, it will just keep you just interested enough to pass the time. If you have a couple of hours into watch a decent film and have a good choice then leave this one alone.
Okay, the best word to describe this movie would be - 'kick ass'!! It has some really good scenes that make you want to cheer and nod your head in approval. The casting for this movie is another plus factor in its favor. The action scenes in this movie are excellent. My favorite would be the rescue scene of Luke McNamara from a psychiatric hospital. His girl friend (Leslie Bipp), really shows some spunk as she tries to get away from a gorgeous Range Rover. Director Rob Cohen has done a good job with "The Skulls", throwing in some plot twisters towards the end. Previously, he directed "Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story" and the TV series "Miami Vice". If you enjoy good thrillers with intelligent casting, then "The Skulls" is the movie to see. The motto from the movie is 'If it's elite and it's secret then it can't be good'.
The Skulls is like a teenage version of such lawyers films as The Firm or The Devil Advocate, which were leveled at adults. It is easy to see that The Skulls was made for the kids, a lawyers film about lawyers before they were lawyers and starring Joshua Jackson. Available as a Collectors Edition DVD (Region one) from Universal I managed to see this film before its cinema release which takes place in a week or two. Joshua Jackson (Dawson's Creek, Mighty Ducks) is Luke McNamara, a kid who is doing well at an unnamed Ivy League schhol (which tohugh being unnamed it is hinted at that it is Yale). Luke comes from a poor background, his mother died when he was one and his father left, he has been in trouble most of his life. But now Luke is the captain of the rowing team and is top of his class in most lessons. Because of his skills Luke is asked to join The Skulls, a secret society, which are like fraternities but more secret. Luke accepts the offer much to the dismay of his best friend Will (Hill Harper) and his other friend Chole (Leslie Bibb). The Skulls are known to give omney and presents to there memebrs and as Luke is from a poor background and cant afford the law school he wants to go to he accepts the offer. But soon things start to go bad and life as a Skull isnt what Luke expected, Luke learns that The Skulls are a renegade group who are on a power trip and think they are above the law. When Luke finds out that a Skull has killed another student he tries to tell the police, but soon finds that The Skulls inflence spreads very far. So with the help of Chloe and some of his old friends from his neighbourhood Luke decides to take on The Skulls and challenge their power. As mentioned before the film is simliar to The Firm, the plot is very similar and hence The Skulls is very predictable. But near the end the film takes a quite unexpected turn which helps as doesn the setting of a secret society. As many of the rituals used about secret societies in
the film are based on a mixture of fact and fiction (scriptwriter John Pogue was a member of one at Yale), the film introduces us to a world most of us havent seen or heard of. The film could of explored the society some more but then that means it wouldnt be secret. But on the downside the secret society are so secret that everyone knows where their headquartes are, and the headquarters look nice but are too stupid, with a massive glowing skull at the top and when they switch on a llight a row of flaming torches light up. Things about the skulls are never explained either, why do new members have to have a skull burnt on to their wrist and it covered with a watch. Why to they pay the members lots of money and give them big cars?. Joshua Jackson is good as the lead role, having to be a normal everyday guy that suddenly gets everthing he wants only to have to blow it all. Leslie Bibb who I have never seen before is also good as love-interet Chloe. Paul Walker is OK as rich boy Skulls and Lukes new best friend Caleb Mandrake. As I stated before The Skulls is Collectors Ediiton and hence comes with lots of extras bunged on the disk. As the film is very new and the film hasnt let been released over here the picture quality is superb and its presented in a letterbox format in 1.85:1. The picture is clean and crisp and has no grain in any of the film, The film is made up of a series of bright daytime shots and very dark nighttime shots so it is a test but the disk passes it easily. The night shots and shots of within The Skulls layer look especially nice with all fo them having true black. In the extras we have an audio commentary frmo director Rob Cohen, the commentary is mostly free of humour and instead focuses on scene to scene but he talks thorugh out the whole of the film and it is interesting in parts. He speaks very well of all the actors he has used in the film, the only problem with it is that he comes accorss as a bit of a dick. He is very
smug and boasts that he attended Harvard and this Ivy League of superiority is spread accross the entire commentary, hes the type of guy you would punch in a pub. While I was interested by what he had to say, I couldnt stand his attitude ('I attended one of the best schools in the country and you dont here me bragging about it' - Yes we do!!). The Spotlight on Location feature on the disk lasts around 15 minutes and offers interviews with Rob Cohen, Joshua Jackson and most of the main actors in the film. It also gives us behind the scenes shots but as with all these style of features they pad it out with footage from the film. Ten deleted scenes also appear on the disk, these run at about 13 minutes in total and range from lines of dialogue to entire scenes. While most are easy to see wht they are cut (Luke delivering flowers to a old women), there are two which sholud of made the film as they add more and would make the film seem more complete (The arrest sequence and the fight between Luke and Caleb). These deleted scenes can be viewed with either commentary by the director or with the original dialogue. The rest of the featurea re just the normal ones, Trailer, production notes and cast and crew bios (which ahs no filmography for Joshua Jackson but has for all the other actors). All in all The Skuls is a half decent attmept at a thriller and a good attempt at the DVD. The plot is a mixture of other Hollywood hit films which is a bit drab but the locations used all look good and it features some decent actors. The DVD, as stated, offers the film with a superb transfer and a good range of extras which proves you dont have to join a secret society to enjoy The Skulls.