The Skulls

Year: 2000
Director: Rob Cohen
Cast: Joshua Jackson, Paul Walker, Craig T Nelson
Quite zippy, intelligently scripted and performed thriller that attempts to boil down the phenomenon of American university quasi-Masonic secret societies (like the real life Skull & Crossbones) into a thriller about their influence.

Luke McNamara (Jackson) is on track for college stardom after his prowess in rowing. The shadowy secret society that has been run on campus for centuries - The Skulls - selects a group of inititates (including him) for their new alumni. He gets hot cars, hot dates, doors open for him whenever he wants, and a new best friend in his partner Caleb (Walker), son of the Chairman (Nelson).

Slowly he learns that their influence is everywhere, and it works both ways. When a friend is murdered and found to be doing an expose on The Skulls for the university paper, Luke starts to ask questions. Soon he's pressed too hard and is on the atypical run, with nowhere to turn after learning that they have 'agents' from their ranks everywhere.

Nothing special as far as thriller stories go, but some engaging leads (especially the chiselled, impossibly beautiful Walker) and performances make it stand out slightly from the crowd. The chubby/baby-faced Jackson seems a strange choice for a thriller hero.

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