Review Date: March 31, 2002
Director: Joe Chappelle
Writer: Michele Colucci-Zieger, Hans Rodionoff
Producers: Neil H. Moritz
Robin Dunne as Ryan Sommers
Ashley Lyn Cafagna as Ali
Lindy Booth as Kelly
A dude gets "tapped" to be a member of the Skulls secret society on campus, but witnesses a girl's death at their quarters, and isn't sure what to do about it. Does he go to the police and risk losing his chances of becoming a "Skull" or is it just a test to gauge his allegiance to the organization? Lots of shots in and around Toronto, Canada ensue...
A straight-to-video follow-up to a mediocre film never elicits the greatest of expectations from any moviegoer, but this flick's actually not as bad as you'd expect, in fact...it's "okay". The story is interesting enough, the actors are fairly decent, especially the lead Robin Dunne, who turns in an impressive performance, the directing is not just competent but somewhat impressive and it actually has a couple of twists and turns. Now don't get me wrong, the movie's still totally predictable, once again features a "secret" society which every single person in the movie knows about, includes a run-of-the-mill car chase scene which has no other reason to be in the film but to say "we have a car chase scene" and the final scene is a little over-the-top and melodramatic. But what kept me in the game throughout was the believable performance by Robin Dunne as Ryan Sommers, the poor sap with a moral dilemma on his hands. Despite looking like Joshua Jackson's real-life brother (Jackson starred in the original SKULLS and coincidentally they both hail from my home country of Canada), the young Canuck had a certain "je ne sais quoi" about him, something that actually made you believe that he was caught up in this twisted game. Now I don't remember much from the original SKULLS movie (although I do refer to it as a "guilty pleasure" in my review), but it certainly seemed as though they didn't stray too far from the same concept for this film. Thankfully, my limited memory allowed this one to be a whole new experience for me and for what it was, it was a decent time.
There isn't really any "action" in the movie, but a chase scene near the end of the film is effective, there is a little suspense here and there, and I genuinely was interested in the plight of the lead young man. There was also a realistic relationship developed between him and his ex-girlfriend's roommate, and speaking of his ex-, she also dropped down to her skivvies in a couple of sequences (no nudity though), to reveal one impressive booty. There's also some standard no-name rock band music playing throughout, an extremely gratuitous tit shot from a day player, an attempt to correlate this story with Goethe and Doctor Faust and many mentions of "A skull above any other". Sure, I would've preferred if the actual "secret" society was a little more secretive, the film had a few more surprises and there were more tension-filled moments, but as it stands, the flick really isn't too bad, especially when you consider that it's basically a recycled version of the original. It's definitely got a polished look and the directing and cinematography are also surprisingly effective for a film of its type. I'd suggest it to anyone looking for some light entertainment with decent actors, a goofy yet somewhat interesting plotline about a murder cover-up and a secret society, and for anyone who enjoyed the first film. It ain't a cure for cancer but it should do the job on an idle weeknight.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian