The Skulls

Bomb Rating: 

If all of this begins to sound like an episode of "Scooby Doo," it was.

Seems to me that for a secret society, The Skulls has an overwhelming number of security problems. First of all, everybody at Yale knows about them. Then there's the journalist, Will Beckford (Hill Harper), who steals Caleb Mandrake's (Paul Walker) secret book and key and breaks into their compound, which is easy to find because there's a huge skull symbol atop it. You'd think if they were really interested in keeping their meeting place a secret, they'd just make the building look like a Jack-in-the-Box. Nobody would ever think about going in there. The members also brand each other on the wrist -- like nobody is going to notice. "Hey, who burnt that skull onto your wrist? It wasn't the Skulls, was it?" Shouldn't their symbol be a tampon or something to confuse the hell out of everybody?

When Caleb discovers Will skulking around the compound, they wrestle and Will is hurt, although Caleb thinks he's killed him. He calls dear old dad (Craig T. Nelson), who has the school provost, Lombard (Christopher McDonald), come over and break Will's neck. Then they take Will back to his dorm and hang him from a rope in an attempt to make it look like a suicide. He's found by the film's central character, Luke McNamara (Joshua Jackson), who eventually figures out what's happened and starts having second thoughts about his membership in the Skulls.

Keep in mind these people are supposed to be the best and brightest Yale has to offer. The way they behave, you'd think this was set at North Central New Haven Community College. Instead of hanging Will's body from his dorm rafter, the Skulls could have just posted a big sign outside their compound that said: "Dead body inside. We didn't do it." The cop (Steve Harris) on the scene immediately tells Luke that the big bump on Will's head suggests that it wasn't a suicide. No shit. Have the Skulls not heard of fire? With all the nosy journalism students they have sneaking into their loosely guarded fort, I'm surprised they don't just have a crematorium out back.

After Luke decides he's going to make the Skulls pay for killing Will, the film becomes a series of overly long cartoon sequences where Luke and friends follow members around and learn where they keep their video tapes and who is a member and who isn't. Not surprisingly, all it takes to bring down the Skulls are a few pesky kids with a vendetta. If all of this begins to sound like an episode of "Scooby Doo," it was. All they needed was a talking dog.

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