Thursday, 25 August 2011

The Skulls II (2002)

A sequel to the teen movie that revolved around a secret society that seemed to be the world’s worst secret, The Skulls II almost slavishly follows all of the rules governing how to make a lesser sequel. No stars but a leading man who looks a bit like the leading man in the first movie? Robin Dunne looks enough like Joshua Jackson in a certain light to tick that box. A plot that covers similar ground to the first movie, and includes a number of scenes that feel like carbon copies, while missing any tension and excitement this time around? Yep, that box is ticked. A further lack of care for anything resembling consistency and/or plausibility? Ohhhhh yes.

Robin Dunne plays Ryan Sommers, a young man who gets received into The Skulls but who doesn’t really care for their traditions and rites. He’s only there because his older brother (played by James Gallanders) was there. When Ryan spots what he thinks is a fatal accident it isn’t long before The Skulls are doing what they seem to do best – covering up mischief, ruining lives and blackmailing everyone that they have to.

There’s just nothing of interest here for those, like myself, who didn’t think that the first movie was more than one or two steps above average. We get one gratuitous bit of T & A but nothing more to make the film as “sexy” as it seems to want to be, the twisted situation spiralling out of control isn’t as well handled here and the actors just aren’t as good. Dunne doesn’t really have the charm for the lead role, though he tries admirably, but Lindy Booth brightens up the screen whenever she’s on it and Nathan West and Aaron Ashmore portray their characters with satisfying smugness and more than a hint of menace.

A couple of people wrote the lacklustre script before Joe Chappelle decided to direct the thing without any hint of enthusiasm for the material. In fact, as unbelievable and stretched as the central concept is I’d have to say that I was most disappointed with a second half that piled conspiracy theory cliché upon cliché before turning its back on many of the rigid rules set out from the opening of the first movie. 

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