Plot: Ryan (Robin Dunne) has been invited to join The Skulls, a prestigious and secret society that lavishes perks upon its members. While this is a great honor for most of those tapped, Ryan isn’t all that enthused and is suspicious of the shady rumors he’s heard. At one of his first parties as an official Skull, he finds himself in a voyeuristic position when he sees a beautiful girl being seduced by a fellow Skull. At first this is just a humorous situation that allows him to see some bare breasts, but when it looks like the intoxicated girl spills off the roof, Ryan is jolted back to reality. After he inquires about the girl, he is told the experience was a trust exercise, to see if he would listen to the others and not turn in his fellow Skull. But was this just a test of loyalty or did an innocent girl lose her life? As strange things begin to happen around him, Ryan wonders if he has kicked a hornet’s nest with The Skulls.
Entertainment Value: The Skulls was a tremendous disappointment, a movie that had a fun premise, but limped its way to a mediocre, forgettable experience. For The Skulls 2, things looked like they might turn around and with an R rating this time, perhaps the dark potential would be realized. Nope. This sequel is pretty much a retelling of the first movie’s narrative with some minor tweaks, down to casting a lead that looks somewhat like Joshua Jackson. The secret society is still in the open and none of the eerie, bleak elements are explored. In essence, this is just a new take on the same story of The Skulls, only slightly worse. I did appreciate the small touches that link the movies, such as a minor reference to a character from the original, but this doesn’t feel like an extension, just a do-over. Robin Dunne is in the lead and has no presence, charisma, or likability, likely cast because he looks similar to Jackson. But his performance is even worse than Jackson’s, which is no small feat. The cast is passable beyond Dunne’s lame duck lead, but no one stands out as memorable or impressive. This is just a weak sequel of an already weak movie, as if a lower budget, less talented cast, and recycled plot would revive the franchise. Unless you’re just a glutton for secret society thrillers, you can safely skip this one.
As I said above, The Skulls II moved into R rated territory, after the PG-13 experience of the first movie. This could have allowed more intense violence, adult themes, and yes, even sleaze, but little of that potential is realized. Aside from some bad language and a quick flash of tits, the R rating isn’t pushed. The topless scene is nice, but it is super brief and not that memorable. On the violence side, no blood is spilled and the boundaries aren’t tested whatsoever. If anything, this one feels less tense and violent, which is an odd approach. So while the R rating sparked a little hope, The Skulls II fails to use that freedom to offer a darker, more mature vision. The dialogue is bland and no lines really stand out, which is a shame. A couple decent performances roll through, such as Lindy Booth, but no one is given much to work with. This carries over to any potential kind of craziness, as the movie wants to be this serious thriller, so it never injects humor or over the top moments. This one is bland and flavorless, like a mediocre bowl of cinematic oatmeal.
Overall Insanity: 0/10