Entertainment Value: A movie about the secret societies of college life seems like a potential winner, after all, rumors and whispers abound about the real life versions of these societies, such as the infamous Skull and Bones. But The Skulls makes some odd choices that derail all that potential, from weak leads to the decision to make this secret society one that holds no secrets. The Skulls operate in plain sight and members are well known, while the perks and activities of the group seem to be common knowledge. A secret society with no secrets is not an ideal basis for this kind of narrative, but it does add some unintentional humor. The story is passable, but the real draw is the shadowy mist around The Skulls and since the group is more bark than bite, it neuters the story and by turn, the movie. Paul Walker and Joshua Jackson are lame duck leads, neither able to do much in their roles or show much charisma, though Leslie Bibb is fiery and adds a lot to her scenes. Craig T. Nelson is fun, as he hams it up as the nefarious head of The Skulls, while William Petersen adds some class with his presence, though he isn’t given much to do. A darker, more intense narrative and decent leads could have worked wonders here, but as it stands, The Skulls is a mostly dull, forgettable movie that wastes an interesting concept.
No nakedness. Some teases at times, but no sleaze. You’d think a powerful, underground sect would throw some wild parties, but no such luck here. No blood. The movie has some mild violence and tense moments, but no real violence or at least no violence that plays out on screen. The violence happens either off screen or in non-graphic fashion, but this is a thriller, not a slasher movie, so that makes sense. But the movie is never able to turn The Skulls into a genuine threat and some shocking moments might have done just that. The dialogue is bland, so not terrible but also not good. The tone is serious, but doesn’t push into camp beyond Nelson’s performance, so there’s not a lot of wild or over the top moments. Just kind of forgettable, filler style dialogue for the most part. I wish this one was as dark and wild as the premise could be, but we’re left with a standard, mediocre thriller instead. The social atmosphere within an elite secret society like this one could have given us balls out craziness, sleaze, and shocks, but The Skulls refuses to deliver on that promise.
Overall Insanity: 0/10