As part of his initiation, Luke and the other members of the senior class who have been tapped for admission must partake in a series of traditional rituals to test their loyalty, honesty and strength of character. Those who succeed will be rewarded with brotherhood, influence and money.
In addition, each initiate is assigned a "soulmate." For Luke it's Caleb Mandrake (Paul Walker) a handsome and charismatic fifth generation Skull. Caleb and Luke become fast friends, each finding admirable qualities in the other. For Caleb, Luke possesses everything he lacks-self-reliance, ambition and drive. And in Caleb, Luke has a clear view of everything he aspires to-wealth, sophistication and prestige. Caleb's father Litten Mandrake (Craig T. Nelson) is a prominent judge, and one of the highest members on The Skulls council.
As a Skull initiate, Luke is invited to be a part of the Mandrake family's holiday gatherings, creating a stronger bond between him and his soulmate. But behind the Mandrake family facade there is unease. In private, Judge Mandrake treats his son harshly, disappointed in his lack of ambition and pride in his lineage. Caleb finds his father's disapproval unbearable, though he does his best to conceal it.
Just when it seems that everything in Luke's life is finally going right, it all goes horribly wrong. Unbeknownst to Luke, his friend Will has also decided to make a name for himself, as a journalist, by infiltrating The Skulls' inner sanctum and writing an expose of their prized secret rituals. When Will commits suicide under suspicious circumstances, Luke is forced to confront the possibility that he was murdered for attempting to reveal the secrets of The Skulls. Together with Chloe, they embark on a deadly game of cat and mouse. In trying to uncover the truth behind Will's death, Luke comes to realize just how powerful The Skulls organization really is. And he learns that the truth, like success, comes at a very high price.