The Skulls Reviews
1. A disorderly or dirty accumulation, heap, or jumble: left a mess in the yard.
a. A cluttered, untidy, usually dirty condition: The kitchen was a mess.
b. A confused, troubling, or embarrassing condition; a muddle: With divorce and bankruptcy proceedings pending, his personal life was in a mess.
c. One that is in such a condition: clothes that were a mess after painting the ceiling; made a mess of their marriage.
"The Skulls", a suspense drama film (although upon viewing it, I can rightly say it can be more appropriately categorized under comedy) released in 2000 directed by Rob Cohen is the very definition of what a mess can be from a cinematic standpoint.
The film centers around a secret society known as the skulls, which recruit new students every school year who excel both physically and intellectually to join their little club. A club that thrives on the riches of wealth, power and fulfilling every wish one would desire. The film begins with a premise that can have potential, it could have been at least a decently crafted thriller with some nice twists. But upon surviving until the final scene I came to realize that the way I imagined and envisioned the film in a few seconds was actually far superior than how the entire film ended up turning out.
As stated, the groundwork here had a good chance of being decent. A secret society shrouded in mystery? Perfect premise for any thriller. However, all hope for this film is ruined by three main components which are: the editing, the acting, the plot (where last time I checked, are the three most fundamental aspects of any film being a success).
The editing was probably what butchered the film the most. The film has an almost bi-polar editing style. In some instances, it would spend FAR too much time on one sequence where in others it would hardly give enough development at all. It's a pace that can make things difficult to follow and oddly feel too rushed and underdeveloped at the same time. For example, we spend at least the first thirty minutes of this film wasting time about discussing how mysterious the organization of The Skulls are. How about to save time (and the patience of the viewer), just show the actual organization from the get-go and throw the characters already in the mix of things? That may seem simplistic but its far better than needlessly overly complicating the storyline. The film then decides to further waste time by showing the newest skull members living "da life". After about 15 minutes of showing them going to high class dinners, dressing up in countless tuxedos, sipping on an endless supply of wine and driving high class sports cars; I do believe that it is only fair for me to utter the words "yeah, I get it" at least once or twice. The film then moves at a lightning fast pace bringing in subplots, rushing a love story and reaching its climax in such unspectacular fashion that its a wonder the studio execs even took this seriously. Just for me to rub more salt in the wound (as this was supposed to be edited by 'professionals') the cuts between scenes in this film are absolutely horrific. Music cutting out, the cuts drawing huge attention to themselves etc. Not too mention one sequence later on the film which molds terrible editing and godawful camera work which I can't even discuss here as it will make me cry.
The acting, for lack of better word....well let us put it this way. The fly from Troll 2 was better. No line can be taken seriously, no facial expression (that is if the characters actually used any other than confused, angry and neutral) hardly conveys feeling and the dialogue is a joke. Lines are repeated by other characters literally seconds after another individual just spoke them. If I had to hear one person say "oh my god", then hear "shit", just for that to loop another 17 times I would have jumped out of a window. The characters don't develop or learn throughout the film and have no real sense of action and consequence. It's all stupid, all around.
Last but not least, the plot.
Where is it?
No, there is no punchline.
Where's the plot? I don't see it anywhere. I know there is a secret society and a group of kids wanting to get in, then stuff goes wrong but...where's the rest of it? There are no stakes, no true development of anything at all and even if there was the editing and characters are too dull for me even give a rat's ass.
"The Skulls" is a mess, it has caused me to write a longer review than usual because I just needed to vent some rage from how much I despised this movie. Due to its braindead characters, atrocious editing, pitiful music, weak plot and general lack of any sort of features that would work in its favor; I can say nothing other than this was very, very painful to watch.