Skulls, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2

This adventure thriller revolves around an actual current phenomenon in America - elite secret societies in prestigious American universities. Being much more selective and secretive than fraternities, the societies are virtually unknown. At a prestigious Ivy League university, Luke McNamara (Joshua Jackson), a very determined young college man from a humble background, who wants to go to law school. When he is invited to join a secret society know as The Skulls, he jumps at the chance since the society will likely obtain his admission to law school and pay his expenses. But his choice raises the ire of his best friend and roommate, Will Beckford (Hill Harper), who is convinced that any highly secret society is bound to be undesirable. Soon, though, Joshua finds a soul mate in another man invited into the society, Caleb Mandrake (Paul Walker). However, the bond between the two men is shaken when Will is harmed and Joshua suspects both the society and Caleb are involved. Although the story is somewhat traditional and predictable, this mystery with some unique plot twists makes for a suspenseful thriller. But young adult and teenage audiences will probably go for it, particularly those attracted to teen idols Jackson and Walker.

Whether the secret society is portrayed accurately is difficult to know. According to press materials, although he does not favor them, writer John Pogue, who joined one of these societies, concluded from his personal experience that there are some good things about secret societies. In the film, older members of the society will do almost anything to perpetuate the society and exploit its benefits in their professional lives. In some cases, this means severe violence as men are beaten and even killed. When this becomes clear to Joshua, he determines to stand against them and risks his life for truth and justice. Joshuas girlfriend, Chloe (Leslie Bibb), shares his convictions and risks her life as well. In standard Hollywood fashion, Joshua and Chloe are shown in a brief passionate encounter and start undressing each other, but no nudity or sexual activity is shown. Chloe and others are also prone to spew obscenities and profanities in crisis situations. Despite its uplifting aspects, the usual foul language and premarital sex implied as acceptable tarnish THE SKULLS.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (8) times - Mild 3, moderate 5

Obscene Language: Many (15) times - S word 13, Other 2

Profanity: Many (9) times - Regular 5 (GD 1, J 1, G 1, Csake 1, Swear to G 1); Exclamatory 4 (OMG 2, OG 2)

Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (men fall off roof, men branded on arm, view of hanged man, man injured in fall, intense hand fights and striking, mace sprayed in face, electric shock, men beaten, autos damaged, man strikes woman, neck broken)

Sex: Implied twice (Couple in passionate scene, no nudity or sexual activity shown)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (Women offered to men, woman acts seductively)

Drugs: Several times (alcohol drinking, man passes out from drinking)

Other: Young man risks life and career for what is right, secret society portrayed as corrupt and evil

Running Time: 100 minutes (es
Intended Audience: 13 years and up

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