Skull & Bones (2007) – By Nic Brown

 Writer/director T.S. Slaughter has brought a new perspective to the traditional slasher film with his new feature Skull & Bones. Set in New Haven, Connecticut the film follows Nathan (Derrick Wolf) and Justin (Michael Burke) a homosexual couple who share more than just a bed, they share a passion for horror films and serial killers. Caught in a rut, going to community college and generally bored with life; the pair decides to spice things up by drugging and raping a straight classmate. Their plan goes horribly wrong and their victim ends up dead.

Killing their fellow student doesn’t stop Nathan & Justin; instead it opens a door for them. They decide to target the ‘elite’ students at nearby Ivy University. The duo soon runs into four members of Ivy’s secret society “Skull & Bones”. The Skull & Bones men are being groomed to be the next world leaders, or so they claim, but when they ridicule Nathan and Justin they become the pair’s next targets. One by one Nathan and Justin lure the Ivy men to their deaths and each time the methods are more cruel and unusual.

Skull & Bones is an interesting mixture of genres. There is definite political and social commentary in the film as it looks at class, sexuality, and society’s odd obsession with the macabre. One thing that was especially noteworthy about the film was in fact its use of sexuality. The main characters are a gay couple and their homosexual nature plays heavily into the atrocities they commit. However, unlike most films which would portray the killer as a homosexual as a way of showing them as immoral or deviant, Nathan and Justin’s sexuality is incidental to their desire to kill.  They have chosen to murder and sexually assault people; the fact that it is other men is dictated by their sexual preference, but the impetus to kill is not.

Political themes are also brought out in the film. Nathan and Justin use masks of various politicians and world leaders during their assaults, often giving specific themes to the event. Their targeting of the Ivy students also emphasizes the divide between the ‘haves’ at Ivy and the ‘have nots’ at the community college.  

The film’s biggest drawback is not that it is low budget or a bad idea, but it does tend to overuse some of the visual imagery. This is especially true of the abduction scenes where the viewer sees the same thing over and over with only a bit of the dialogue changed for each of the abductees. This may have been done for humorous effect but it detracts from the suspense of some parts of the film.

Skull & Bones is not for everyone. Like many most horror/slasher films it contains images of graphic violence that can be disturbing. The film also contains explicit homosexual sex mixed in with the violence and torture. This combination makes Skull & Bones one of the most unique films of 2007. So if you think you can handle it, check out Skull & Bones and judge for yourself.