STARRING: Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris, Shawn Hatosy, Robert Patrick, Famke Janssen, Bebe Neuwirth, Piper Laurie, Daniel Von Bargen, Usher Raymond, Jon Stewart, Selma Hayek, Susan Willis, Libby Villari and Christopher McDonald
Students suspect that their teachers are aliens after bizarre occurrences.
The Faculty takes us to Herrington High School in Ohio, where a group of students start to recognise that a few of the teachers are acting rather odd recently. After a series of bizarre occurrences, they begin to believe that the teachers are being controlled by aliens and the fate of the town falls upon them to stop the aliens from taking over everything.
The Faculty was released back in 1998, directed by Robert Rodriguez coming off From Dusk Till Dawn working on a screenplay written by Kevin Williamson coming off the first two Scream films, focusing on a group of students in a High School setting of a small setting having to figure out a way to stop their teachers who are being controlled by aliens.
The Faculty is a film that pays homage to horror classics such as The Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing, embraces the films key elements and acts almost as a love letter to the genre and it also still remains in my eyes one of the most underrated High School Horror films ever made, let alone the 90’s. While it blends those films for its horror element, it’s foundation of the students relies on the fundamental stereotypes we’re accustomed to that give us a late 90’s equivalent of The Breakfast Club, yet the performances from the actors portraying the students (Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris and Shawn Hatosy) make the film enjoyable and it helps also that their characters dialogue is sharply written. Given that the films budget was around $15m, the special effects of the alien CGI and the alien queen actually still hold up well enough by todays standards and Robert Rodriguez does a good job directing the film, the chase sequences especially and creating the sense of paranoia that the group is going through as teachers and students slowly start to be controlled one by one as the hours pass.
There is a few downsides to this film, mainly with its predictable nature of the story as it’s one that has been told numerous times, especially when the films goes big with the final act once the alien queen enters the picture. The teachers group (Robert Patrick, Famke Janssen, Bebe Neuwirth, Piper Laurie and Daniel Von Bargen) is well rounded though unfortunately since they’re controlled by the aliens, they’re not as well rounded or as memorable as the characters we’re following and cheering for to stop the alien invasion in question.
It may be predictable in nature and very much cliched by todays standards, but The Faculty is a well written and entertaining sci-fi/teen horror film hybrid that will appear to a number of people as a blatant rip-off of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers/The Thing & The Puppet Masters, but it openly acknowledges its sources through the characters and embraces them. 7/10