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Movie Review

The Skulls

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and brief sexuality

Reviewed by: Gabe Rodriguez
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teen to Adult
Genre:
Mystery
Length:
2 hr.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
Joshua Jackson in “The Skulls”
Featuring: Joshua Jackson, Craig T Nelson, Paul Walker, Hill Harper, Steve Harris
Director: Rob Cohen
Producer: Christopher Ball, Neil Moritz, John Pogue
Distributor: Universal Pictures

I must say that when a friend proposed that we go see the new teen “horror” flick, “The Skulls”, I was rather taken aback. I didn’t want to see yet another teen slasher movie filled with gore and violence. But, reader’s pay attention, “The Skulls” was not only a serious guilty pleasure, it’s not a horror movie at all. It’s a fun and gripping thriller on the level of “The Firm”.

Image from “The Skulls”
Leslie Bibb, Paul Walker and Joshua Jackson in “The Skulls”

Joshua Jackson stars as Luke, a college senior who is drafted to become a member of a strange and ominous secret society called “The Skulls” simply because he is a champion rower. But after he joins, and gets many cushy benefits of membership, a strange and mysterious plot twist causes Luke to accidentally spill the secrets of “The Skulls,” and now they want him and his girlfriend Chloe (played very well by the charming Leslie Bibb) dead.

While this film is extremely campy and not very well scripted, it is without doubt a fun time. The thrills come without the gore that’s so widely seen in teen horror films. Offensive material is surprisingly sparse. There are a few intense chase scenes, as well as about 10 s-words and a brief steamy make-out scene. But there’s no gore, no nudity, no real sex, and a low level of profanity, all of which makes “The Skulls” a good choice for your teen who’s dying to see a “scary movie”. A total blast.


Viewer Comments
While “Skulls” may not be an Oscar hopeful, it was a very enjoyable movie… The violence was graphic in at least one spot, but not extreme at all. My Ratings: [3/3½]
—Anonymous
With the release previews I expected a much darker film. I was quite surprised at the lack of cussing/cursing that so dominates todays movies. Even in the one make out scene they are very discrete with the camera angles. I thought the story was well done and thought out.
—Jay Bond, age 37
A WONDERFUL MOVIE! It was really great I would recomend it for all teens. It kept me interested the whole time. Go see it. My Ratings: [3½/4]
—Tiffany Millikan, age 15
I think that this movie is a very enjoyable movie for teenagers who enjoy “teen horror” flims. I really enjoyed the suspense that certain scenes lead up to. I would recommend this movie to just about anyone.
—Vanessa, age 14
I thought this movie was very entertaining. Joshua Jackson did an excellent job; however Leslie Gibbs’ performance was half okay and the other half bad… [some] scenes are a little unbelievable… overall the movie was not too bad.
—Rose, age 18
The movie also had some occultic qualities in it too. I thought the thing about the “Soul Brothers” wasn’t too Christian, escpecially after they burnt the skulls onto their wrists.
—Joseph Raiker, age 14
This movie was suprisingly clean for a “teen horror.” I went to see it at the $.99 theater, and I am refreshed that the money was well spent. It lacked excessive profanity—a step up for Hollywood—and the plot was well-thought. The one scene of Luke and Chloe “giving in to lust,” so to speak, was rather poorly done, but besides that, I recommend this flick to someone who likes action and suspense without the gore.
—Sandra Stevenson, age 23
Although I had somewhat low expectations when I went to see the film, the movie turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It was certainly not the best movie that I’ve seen, but it was exciting and entertaining. Josh Jackson gave a believable performance, and although it seemed like the teenage cast might give the show too much of a pathetic WB flavor, “The Skulls” turned out quite well. There was absolutely no material that I found offensive, and I would recommend the movie to parents who have a teenager at home dying to see a movie. Hollywood got this one right. I enjoyed the producers not putting in extra violence, sexual themes, or any more language (there are a few curse words). On the whole, “The Skulls” was clean fun and it was worth the $6.50 too.
—Trevor Hughes, age 18
I just saw this movie about tweny minutes ago, and I would have to say… I was impressed. The usual horror flicks that the general media seems to put out here for teens like me are all the same. They all have sex, violence, swearing, and lots of gore to “please” the viewer. This movie rises above that. There is no sex, very little violence, very little gore and about ten swear words. When you hear the name of this movie you may think of those things, but as I was, you will be surprised as to how good this movie really is. In this movie you see how guilt can ride a person, and push them to exposing the truth. You see how good morals can overcome what we know is bad if we just continue on in the truth. This movie really impressed me.
—Ang Garvin, age 18
I agree with the reviewers rating of the movie. It is not as offensive as others movies appealing to teen audiences. I liked the fact that ulltimately the main character chose the higher moral ground at the loss of material possessions. My Ratings: [3/3½]
—Dee Sebastian, age 40+
A very intense movie. The main characters are torn between friendship and external loyalties. The good guys are “normal” people who must choose to do what is right when what is wrong has so many rewards. The bad guys are powerful and manipulative. Giving into evil is shown to be easy, but wrong. Doing the right thing is shown to involve risk, but is morally correct. The profanity was so sparse as to almost not be noticed. My Ratings: [3½/4]
—Ted Roberson, age 26
This film is silly, but secret societies are a serious subject. When movies and TV skewer lodges or college frats, they usually use fictitious ones. “The Skulls” are also fictitious, although the timing of this film’s release is probably a shot at George W. Bush’s membership in both the Skull and Bones Society (which does not use branding as The Skulls do) and in a certain Greek letter fraternity (which does use branding). The comment in the film by Luke’s roommate “If it’s secret and it’s elite, it can’t be good” is right on. Many churches once had anti-secret society policies which are now revoked or forgotten. Besides the favoritism and the weird occult practices, some secret societies are the last bastions of white (or black) male supremacy (real, adult versions of the “no girls” clubs in “Little Lulu” and “Calvin and Hobbes”). As long as such groups exist and powerful men of both political parties belong to them, the Feminist charge that “men are only overgrown little boys” carries some weight. The day a major-studio film names and exposes real-life secret societies in the way that “The Insider” exposed the tobacco industry, we’ll know that the intended target was not just a certain politician, but the societies themselves. Meanwhile, Christians should remember that the principle of 2 Cor. 6:14-18 applies not only to marriage, but to all our relationships.
Brett Willis, age 49