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Of course the story told by this film (aliens land in small Mid-West
town and start taking over the humans) is very familiar but it is still
a great story and this film tells it as well as any of the others (and
better than most). There is a lot of humour, many very good action
scenes, and some really nail-biting suspense. But what really makes
this film special are the main characters: a delightful group of funny
and interesting students, who have to cope with the trials of
high-school life as well as the demands of defending the Earth against
an insidious alien invasion.
If you know the other films of Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn) you will find another film which displays the same wit and assured lightness of touch that makes this director's work such a pleasure.
Herrington High School in Ohio has the usual groups of disaffected youths
the jock, the goth, the geek, the prom-queen, the drop out etc. However
they are not the only ones acting out of the ordinary the teaching staff
all seem to be acting out of the ordinary drinking water, acting sinister.
Geeky Casey has the idea that the staff have been infected, taken over by
aliens using their bodies as hosts. Casey's theory spreads to a group of
students who decide to take a stand.
Oh my God an enjoyable and quite clever teen movie! Something must be wrong! The plot is basically a teen twist on The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but is filled with clever references and jokes related to sci-fi. This makes it stand out from other teen movies in that it cleverly plays with the usual stereotypes and makes them feel fresh. The group itself is close to the usual group that learns to get along and accept each other (a la Breakfast Club) except here they get along through drugs and the battle against aliens!
The director is better known for his big OTT action stuff but here he does a good job with a slow build up and a real feeling of paranoia. Of course it's not as good as the actual Body Snatchers but it still has a real good feeling of fear and tension. The effects are good but Rodriguez uses them sparingly for the most part helping the mood of uncertainty and fear.
The cast are all good. The teens play the stereotypes well but they are outshone by the adults who all get to ham it up in sinister roles. Many of the adults are wasted in minor roles Hayek for one is barely in it, and MacDonald deserves more than a few minutes. Patrick is very good considering that it could have easily been his T2 role again running in that distinctive way etc, but he is suitably sinister. Janssen is also good transforming from a shy flower into her usual vamp. Cameos from Usher, Summer Phoenix and a seemingly pointless role for Harry Knowles (he's been bought!) don't spoil this.
Overall as a sci-fi horror it's pretty good if not great there are better films around. But as a teen movie it is head and shoulders above the rest of this rather sorry genre and has enough tension, drama and references to be very enjoyable.
It's a Robert Rodriguez film. It's a Kevin Williamson
screenplay. You already know that it's in the same vein
as'Bodysnatchers,' etc. Anybody who *doesn't* know this but
and enjoyed the Scream flicks or the "I Know ..." movies
likely to enjoy this.
No, it doesn't really have the same underlying Red Scare theme of the original Bodysnatchers (or Arthur Miller's Crucible), although it *is* about what every modern high school movie seems to be about: how much their presumed roles imposed on teens makes their lives painful, and how great it is to unleash those strictures. Sure, it's not Bergman, but who really expects haute couture from a sci-fi horror flick? Oh, and any 'homophobia' attributed to the movie (as opposed to some of its high school student characters, just as occurs in real life) is questionable at best.
"The Faculty" is no more and no less than another entry in 'new geek cinema,' slightly more intelligent and self-referential than your standard SCI-FI Network fare. Appreciated on its own terms, or anything close to them, it's a lot of fun!
This is pretty much the typical slasher, with just one twist. It's also helped by the fact that there's other things going on than just a bunch of killings; there are conflicts between the characters from the very beginning, before the killing starts. This is pretty unique for a slasher, and it definitely helps the film become more interesting. The plot is interesting, well, more interesting than slasher plots usually are. The acting is pretty much all very good, the actors nearly all give top-notch performances. The special effects are good, and mostly pretty convincing. I've heard a lot of people complain that this movie is a ripoff of the Carpenter classic "The Thing". While that film is the better of the two, this is by no means a simple ripoff. The plot in this is not the same, there are just a few striking similarities. I would rather think of it as a reference, something to honor Carpenter's abilities - Rodriguez was inspired by Carpenter, after all. I would recommend this to pretty much anyone who enjoys slasher movies, sci-fi flicks, or crossovers of the two genres. It's very enjoyable; the only thing I hated was that they had casted Elijah "babyface" Wood in one of the leads... oh well. You can't always enjoy all aspects of a film. 7/10
This film fuses elements of the Breakfast Club with Invasion of the
Body Snatchers. Robert Rodrigues makes entertaining films, and does so
consistently. The Faculty is no exception, though the formula is
radically different from his standard approach. In place of large guns,
spectacular stunt choreography and a silly soundtrack, Rodrigues made
"The Faculty" with a classy ensemble cast and some awesome special
effects. The script is also very good, featuring strong
characterization and interesting dialog. All of these elements make The
Faculty a very watchable film, and make up for the completely
unoriginal and not very coherent plot.
The film begins as a paranoiac comedy about a typical high school where the students and faculty see each other as alien species. Ho hum. However, after about 20 minutes of set-up, the faculty really starts to become an alien species, as they are assimilated by water-loving parasites with very bad attitudes and a kind of group consciousness straight out of Invasion of The Body Snatchers and Star Trek's Borg. Six kids, very unlikely team-mates representing the archetypal teenage personalities of the postmodern world, team up to try to save the world, once they realize that the aliens can be driven off by, of all things, caffeine. Especially impressive are Elijah Wood, Piper Laurie, Robert Patrick, Josh Hartnett and Clea DuVall.
Like most of Rodrigues' films, The Faculty never loses its sense of humor, and pulls off its own absurdity with artful visualization and a tight, driving pace. Unlike many of Rodrigues' films, however, The Faculty is disposable - it's not really meant to be viewed more than once. See it if you're a Rodrigues fan, or somebody who enjoys the obscure but growing genre of horror-comedy.
Is a rough way of putting it. And never mind those Scream rip-offs or
all those other cheap alien/creature-feature films from the 90's. This
is a teen horror movie that gives you everything you'd want from a teen
movie and everything you'd want from a creature feature, all in one.
But what else is to be expected when you got Robert Rodriguez behind
the lens? Any other director and this film would be tossed aside as
just a teen body snatcher movie. But Robert Rodriguez shows here that
he has the style to make it more than that.
Now, I've read the script to this movie before I even saw it and I kept thinking to myself, there has to be another draft of this, no way this could really work and be taken seriously... or as serious as you can take a movie like this. Yet not only was I surprised to see how much of the original script Rodriguez kept in, but I was even more surprised to see how well things actually played out. Sometimes I really love being wrong.
This film delivers, just as much as any other Rodriguez picture that calls back to the good old days of the Grindhouse and makes us forget that those movies weren't even close to par with these "tribute" films that somehow manage to surpass the movies they're tributing. You get everything you want and leave wishing you could spend more time in high school... or at least at this high school.
This film, to me, is the second in Rodriguez's own unofficial Sci-fi Grindhouse trilogy. Starting with From Dusk Till Dawn and ending with Planet Terror. Want to treat yourself to some fun? Watch all three back to back to back. You won't be disappointed.
Fun and Interesting characters and cool visual effects are the key to
this Sci-Fi Thriller, which is largely based on 'The Invasion of the
I won't introduce the characters here, as the movie introduces (Clea DuVall, Laura Harris, Josh Hartnett, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster and Elijah Wood's characters) really well as the students at Herrington High, they each have their own individual personalities that evolve as events in the film unfold.
The Faculty is littered with top names like Robert Patrick, Famke Janssen, Bebe Neuwirth and Salma Hayek who all begin to behave strangely, un-nerving the students.
A small pocket of students begin to believe in a conspiracy among the teachers and it's up to them to save the world from invasion.
Great performances from the cast (Josh Hartnett in particular), a fun script and a cleverly re-written story all conspire to make the Faculty a cracking 100 minutes of all out entertainment.
Originality is not The Faculty's strongest suit, the basic plot being a
reworking of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (with a touch of Night of
the Creeps and The Thing chucked in for good measure), its characters
your typical high-school movie stereotypes (The Jock, The Nerd, The
Outcast, The Stoner, The Head Cheerleader, The Hard-ass Coach, The
Tough Principal etcetera etcetera.) and even the movie poster
displaying very little imagination.
But although this kind of thing has been done many, many times before, the film still proves to be hugely entertaining thanks to a sharp script by Kevin Williamson, assured direction by Robert Rodriguez, great special effects (particularly the practical MUFX by KNB), and a cool cast including Bebe Neuwirth (40 and fabulous), Jordana Brewster, Salma Hayek, Elijah Wood, Robert Patrick, Clea DuVall, Famke Janssen (hubba, hubba), Usher, Laura Harris (naked!) and Piper Laurie. Hell, even Josh Hartnett and his bad hair didn't rankle me that much, which is a change.
The movie opens brilliantly with an amazingly tense scene (Williamson having had prior experience in writing such scary openings with Scream and Scream 2), and the excitement continues unabated until the spectacular finale which features one hell of a cool monster, a Cthulu style alien with lots of gnarly teeth and thrashing tentacles. Along the way, Salma, Famke, and Bebe get all sexed up, Josh gets all macho with a makeshift machete, Elijah takes drugs, and Harry Knowles hoists his fat ass out of his armchair for a pointless cameo. It all adds up to a whole heap of fun.
Finally after the appalling "I Know what you did Last Summer"
franchise, writer Kevin Williamson comes back strong with
enjoyable slice of movie literate, sci-fi black comedy.
Cult director Robert Rodriguez skilfully mixes shocks with laughs in this pseudo-remake of "Body Snatcher" movies. If you are willing to sit back and disconnect your brain for two hours, you could naturally do a lot worse than this.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Teenagers thrive on science fiction and horror flicks because these
renegade movies with their improbable pulp fiction plots appeal to
youthful sentiments about alienation and the lack of power that
juveniles wrestle with in an adult-dominated society. Not surprisingly,
"Desperado" director Robert Rodriguez's clever but derivative creature
feature "The Faculty," starring Elijah Wood, Robert Patrick, Salma
Hayek, and Famke Janssen, ridicules those traditional authority
figuresteachers, parents, and the policewho curtail adolescent
curiosity. As scripted by "Scream" scenarist Kevin Williamson, "The
Faculty" amounts to an entertaining but irreverent hodgepodge of "The
Breakfast Club" meets "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" with a scene or
two from "The Thing" grafted on for good measure. While adults may
cringe at the messages that crop up, teens will revel in this spooky,
sometimes scary spectacle. Inevitably, any movie celebrating a drug
dealer as a hero is bound to arouse the wrath of either the PTA or the
The teachers at Herrington High School in suburban Ohio have started acting a little weird. Weird enough so that several students suspect aliens may have turned their faculty into puppets and are using them to stage a hostile takeover of not only their campus but also their town and perhaps even planet Earth. Of course, students have always felt that their teachers come from another cosmos, and "The Faculty" winks mischievously at this premise. Initially, nobody believes that anything adverse is occurring, and "The Faculty" unfolds like a hip 1990s' update of "The Blackboard Jungle" where the kids ruled the campus and the instructors were the casualties of an apathetic school board. An early scene invites such a comparison when Principal Drake (Bebe Neuwirth of "Jumanji") informs her burned-out faculty that only the football team will get any new funding. Everybody else will have to suffer. Forget those new computers for the classrooms; the drama teacher will have to recycle last year's sets, and kiss any field trips goodbye.
Things take an "X-Files" turn for the worst when Casey (Elijah Wood of "Deep Impact"), a geeky, non-entity that bullies love to bash, discovers an egg-roll shaped critter on the football field and lets his biology teacher, Mr. Furlong (Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show"), analyze it. Like a gremlin, this squirmy thing mutates after they dunk it in an aquarium. When Mr. Furlong sticks his hand in the tank, the things sprouts teeth and rips a chunk out of him. What the students don't know yet is that the critter has already assailed their hotheaded football coach, Dick Willis (Robert Patrick of "Terminator 2"), and that he has attacked the Principal Drake. Furthermore, this parasite thrives on water, and eventually the entire faculty cannot seem to gulp enough water. Basically, this critter slips into your ears and takes over your body, a variation on Jack Sholder's "The Hidden" (1987), but "The Faculty" parasite adds recruits to its zombie-like ranks instead of skipping from one host to another like "The Hidden." Insidiously enough, the alien parasite plans to use the popular Friday night grid-iron contest to boost its numbers.
Scenarist Kevin ("I Know What You Did Last Summer") Williamson populates "The Faculty" with a generic cross-section of high school types played by a talented young cast of fresh but little known faces. Shawn Hatosy brings humility to Stan, the star quarterback who quits the team in a fit of conscience to improve his grades. As his girlfriend Delilah, who heads the cheerleading squad and edits the school newspaper, Jordana Brewster of "The Fast & The Furious") is appropriately catty and snobbish. Delilah dumps Stan because his newly found academic efforts clash with her need for prominence. Wearing more make-up than Elvira, Clea DuVall of "Heroes" impersonates Stokely, a moody misfit unfairly accused of being a lesbian. Although Stokely isn't really gay, she adopts the persona because she refuses to click with the cliques. Meanwhile, Zeke (Josh Hartnett of "Halloween: H20") pedals drugs and taboo videos out of the trunk of his GTO, but he conceals more brain cells than any druggie could, especially when he duels with his English teacher about poetry. According to the script, his irresponsible parents have abandoned him, so Zeke has the run of his house. Finally, as Mary Beth, the new babe on campus, Laura Harris deploys her designing Dixie charms to ingratiate herself with even the most dispossessed. No matter what she does, just about everybody shuns poor Mary Beth.
Nothing is either as simple or as straight-faced as it first appears in Kevin Williamson's ingenious script. Although the kids have found a cure, they must solve the mystery of who was first infested so that they can kill the parasite and free everybody. Complicating matters is that the alien's army of zombies is multiplying like crazy, and the enemy has our heroes surrounded, outnumbered, and perhaps even infiltrated. Predictably, too, Zeke's stash of narcotics runs low, and the kids have to run a gauntlet of zombies to grab what little drugs remain to destroy it. Director Robert Rodriguez generates sustained suspense as our heroes struggle to outfox the elude the alien spawn and rarely lets the momentum flag.
Bristling with atmosphere, issues, and surprises, "The Faculty" qualifies as a witty, rip-snorting, reptilian chiller that never takes itself seriously. Good paranoid thrillers that keep audiences guessing up to fade out are few and far between. Indeed, the characters get the short shrift, but action rather than characterization propels "The Faculty" to its nail-biting finale. Nevertheless, the filmmakers offset the lack of character development with cinematic and literary references to genre classics. Stokely and Casey engage in an illuminating colloquy about sci-fi literature and point out that Robert Heinlein's "The Puppet Masters" beats Jack Finney's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" to the book racks. On the other hand, they reveal that Hollywood has exploited Finney more frequently than Heinlein. Even if you abhor horror movies, you might be able to tolerate this playful, well-paced hellraiser.
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