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Encyclopedia > The Skulls (film)
The Skulls
Directed by Rob Cohen
Produced by Neal H. Moritz,
John Pogue
Written by John Pogue
Starring Joshua Jackson,
Paul Walker,
Hill Harper,
Leslie Bibb,
Christopher McDonald,
William L. Petersen,
Craig T. Nelson
Music by Randy Edelman,
Emmanuel Kiriakou,
Steve Porcaro
Distributed by MCA/Universal Pictures
Release date(s) 2000
Running time 106 min.
Language English
Budget $15,000,000
Followed by The Skulls II
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile

The Skulls was a 2000 film starring Joshua Jackson, Paul Walker, and Leslie Bibb; and directed by Rob Cohen. Its plot is based upon some of the most wild conspiracy theories surrounding Yale University's Skull and Bones student society. The movie was critically panned (For example, it was one of Roger Ebert's most hated films), but successful enough to spawn two direct-to-video sequels, The Skulls II, starring Robin Dunne, and The Skulls III, with Clare Kramer as the first woman member of the society. Image File history File links The_Skulls_film. ... Director Rob Cohen on the set of Stealth Rob Cohen (born March 12, 1949 in Cornwall, New York, USA) is an American film director, producer and writer. ... Joshua Carter Jackson (born June 11, 1978) is a Canadian-American actor in American television and movies. ... Paul William Walker IV (born September 12, 1973) is an American actor and former fashion model. ... Hill Harper in a screen shot from ABCS The Court Hill Harper (born Frank Hill Harper on May 17, 1973 in Iowa City, Iowa), is an American film, television and stage actor. ... Leslie Louise Bibb is an American actress. ... Christopher McDonald Christopher McDonald (born February 15, 1955 in New York City, New York, USA) is an American actor. ... William Petersen, an American actor, was born on February 21, 1953, in Evanston, Illinois. ... Craig T. Nelson Craig Richard Nelson (born April 4, 1946 in Spokane, Washington) is an American actor who has starred in television shows such as Coach and The District. ... Randy Edelman (born 10 June 1947) is a well known film and TV score composer born in Paterson, New Jersey. ... Steve Porcaro is a keyboardist and composer who was an original member of the rock/pop band, Toto. ... This article is about the major American media conglomerate. ... This is a list of film-related events in 2000. ... Film is a term that encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. ... Joshua Carter Jackson (born June 11, 1978) is a Canadian-American actor in American television and movies. ... Paul William Walker IV (born September 12, 1973) is an American actor and former fashion model. ... Leslie Louise Bibb is an American actress. ... Director Rob Cohen on the set of Stealth Rob Cohen (born March 12, 1949 in Cornwall, New York, USA) is an American film director, producer and writer. ... A conspiracy theory attempts to attribute the ultimate cause of an event or chain of events (usually political, social, or historical events), or the concealment of such causes from public knowledge, to a secret, and often deceptive, plot by a covert alliance of powerful or influential people or organizations. ... “Yale” redirects here. ... Emblem of the Skull and Bones society The Order of Skull and Bones, once known as The Brotherhood of Death[1], is a secret society based at Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, and one of the earliest-established of student secret societies that rival Phi Beta Kappa, also originally... Roger Joseph Ebert (born June 18, 1942) is a Pulitzer Prize winning American film critic. ... A film that is released direct-to-video (also straight-to-video) is one which has been released to the public on home video formats first rather than first being released in movie theaters. ... Robin Dunne (born November 19, 1976 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada) is an actor, best known for a lead role in As If, a series of appearances in the the sequels/prequels Cruel Intentions 2 (playing the role portrayed by Ryan Phillippe in the original), Au Pair II, The Skulls II... Clare Kramer. ...

  • Tagline: Getting in is easy. Getting out is a killer.

Contents

A tagline is a variant of a branding slogan typically used in marketing materials and advertising. ...

Plot summary

Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Luke McNamara (Joshua Jackson) is a college student with aspirations to eventually become a lawyer. He attends Yale along with his quasi-girlfriend Chloe (Leslie Bibb) and his best friend Will (Hill Harper). Luke's friendships hit the rocks when he is invited to join a secret society known as "The Skulls." After Luke passes the first part of the initiation process, he has a falling out with Chloe when she realizes that he has become a skull. As a member of the skulls, Luke is partnered with Caleb Mandrake (Paul Walker), and the two eventually strike up a friendship. Caleb's father is the current President of the Skulls, and his partner Senator Ames Levritt takes an interest in Luke. Eventually Will, who has been conducting research on The Skulls for some time, discovers their secret ritual room. Will gets caught in the ritual room by and in the ensuing struggle he falls and is knocked unconscious. Caleb is ordered to leave the room by his father, after which one of his father's cronies breaks Will's neck. The skulls manage to move the body and make it look like Will committed suicide in his dorm room. YALE (Yet Another Learning Environment) is an environment for machine learning experiments and data mining. ... Emblem of the Skull and Bones society The Order of Skull and Bones, once known as The Brotherhood of Death[1], is a secret society based at Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut, and one of the earliest-established of student secret societies that rival Phi Beta Kappa, also originally...


Luke is greatly troubled by the death of his best friend, especially because Will's family is the only family he had (due to the death of his parents at a young age). Luke eventually becomes suspicious of what actually happened to Will, and discovers that he was murdered. He initially thinks that Caleb is guilty of the murder, and Caleb thinks that he himself is guilty since he assumed that Will was dead when he left the room. Luke obtains tapes that prove that Mr. Mandrake's hitman committed the murder - not Caleb. In trying to convince Caleb of the truth--that it was Caleb's father who was responsible for Will's death, Luke realizes how scared Caleb is of his father. Before Luke can show the evidence to police, the tape is switched by another skull member, and Luke ends up being confined to a mental hospital under the control of The Skulls.


With the help of Ames Levritt (William Petersen) and Chloe, Luke manages to escape the mental hospital and an attempt on his life. At this point Luke decides that his only option is to fight The Skulls by their own rules, and "bring war to them." He challenges Caleb to a duel at The Skulls' private island. Caleb's father tries to take his son's place in the duel, but is denied the opportunity due to another Skull rule. After the two college students take their paces and turn around, Luke drops his gun and tries to convince Caleb of the truth, being that he is not responsible for Will's murder. Despite being pressured by his father to kill Luke, Caleb cannot bring himself to pull the trigger. At this point, Caleb's father loses control, grabs a pistol, and attempts to shoot Luke himself. Before he can successfully fire his weapon, Caleb shoots his own father. The wound is apparently not a mortal one. Furious, Caleb's father rebukes him, and Caleb, grief-stricken, tries to kill himself, but is stopped by Luke. Deer Island is one of the Thousand Islands [Google Maps] between the United States and Canada, close to Alexandria Bay, New York. ...


The film ends with Luke's realization that Senator Levritt waited to help him until he had no other choice but to duel and eliminate his rival (Caleb's father). Luke becomes disgusted with the order and refuses to participate, even after Levritt threatens to track him down some day and make demands that could have serious repercussions. As Luke walks away Levritt congratulates the boy on a job well done, though Luke cannot hear him. The final shot of the movie is Luke's reunion with Chloe.

Spoilers end here.

Setting

The movie was filmed at the University of Toronto but it is strongly hinted that the plot takes place at Yale, with large "Y"s on uniforms and walls the most prominent clue. Also, during a scene in a bar, the rowers are seen singing "Mory's Song," a traditional Yale song of celebration. Many of U of T's most notable buildings are featured in the film. A part of University College stands in for the Skull's headquarters while the office of the Skull's evil leader shown as being in Trinity College. The rival society is headquartered in the student council building. The protagonists live and eat in Burwash Hall. The opening rowing scene was shot in St. Catharines, Ontario. The University of Toronto (U of T) is a coeducational public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... UC during winter time University College, University of Toronto (abbreviated as UC) is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Toronto. ... Trinity College main building The University of Trinity College, or simply Trinity College is one of the federated schools making up the modern University of Toronto. ... Burwash dining hall viewed from Charles St. ... Nickname: The Garden City Motto: Industry and Liberality Location of St. ...


Trivia

  • The film features both William Petersen and Hill Harper. Harper is currently a star of CSI: NY, the spin-off of Petersen's series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
  • The Skulls are said to have "322 alumni worldwide." The Yale secret society Skull & Bones uses the number 322 as an identifier on many of its symbols.
  • The Skull-and-Bones Society (on which this movie was based) actually gives out watches to each class of skulls, though not necessarily with the whole branding ceremony. After the movie was filmed, Joshua Jackson acquired one of the actual watches and gave it to director Rob Cohen.

William Louis Petersen (born February 21, 1953) is an American actor, best known for playing Gil Grissom on CSI. // Petersen was born in Evanston, Illinois of Danish ancestry. ... Hill Harper in a screen shot from ABCS The Court Hill Harper (born Frank Hill Harper on May 17, 1973 in Iowa City, Iowa), is an American film, television and stage actor. ... Hill Harper in a screen shot from ABCS The Court Hill Harper (born Frank Hill Harper on May 17, 1973 in Iowa City, Iowa), is an American film, television and stage actor. ... CSI: NY (working title CSI: New York) is an American police procedural television series which premiered on September 22, 2004. ... A spin-off (or spinoff) is a new organization or entity formed by a split from a larger one such as a new company formed from a university research group. ... William Louis Petersen (born February 21, 1953) is an American actor, best known for playing Gil Grissom on CSI. // Petersen was born in Evanston, Illinois of Danish ancestry. ... CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a popular Alliance Atlantis/CBS police procedural television series, running since October 2000, about a team of forensic scientists. ...

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