Movie of the Day – The Faculty
October 11, 2012 9 Comments
Man, I remember this movie being a huge deal when I was a teen. Everyone was weirdly talking about this movie like it was the be all end all of movies. I must admit, I did get swept up into seeing this on opening day, mainly cause MTV was promoting the hell out of it and Tommy Hilfiger was sponsoring this movie for some reason, I guess they saw it as an avenue put their clothes on pretty young actors in a high school setting. Either way, I was and still am, pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy this movie, even after its release in 1998. It doesn’t hurt that Robert Rodriguez directed this more teen friendly version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Dilapidated Herrington High is the location for a story about a school faculty taken over by outer-space creatures, forcing the students to take charge and kick some alien butt. School faculty members (Robert Patrick, Bebe Neuwirth, Salma Hayek, and Jon Stewart) are infested with rapidly reproducing space worms that take over their minds and bodies. But never fear, because at this school, between hazing the student body and having sex in the locker room, a Scooby-Doo-ish group of high school students is ready to fight back. ~ Arthur Borman, Rovi
Even re-watching this sci-fi horror mashup today, it still holds up nicely. I mean yeah, the writer of the movie, Kevin Williamson, has a habit of taking standard horror/sci-fi themes and stories, deconstructs them and then pieces them back together again doesn’t lend itself to anything new. I will say that the on-rails story line is enjoyable when paired nicely with the young newcomers in acting that are now very well known. I mean the faculty adults are comprised of Robert Patrick, Jon Stewart, Salma Hayek, and Famke Janssen. All very well known adult actors and fucking Jon Stewart! Even the young kids in the movie are stars as well with Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Clea Duvall, Usher and Jordana Brewster. A veritable ensemble film with some new stars that eventually are about as famous as their adult counterparts.
For some horror/sci-fi purists, they might cry foul that this is just a Degrassi High version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I would agree with them, but then again, that movie is a template for a lot of other alien invasion movies, but yes the beats and setup of the movie are very similar. It still has a perfect setting for the target demographic and I admit that I did get sucked into the whole school setting and teachers being the enemy feel. It was refreshing in a way, seeing an updated version of a classic while still bringing this Scooby Doo vibe that the group of teens have when figuring out how to defeat the alien menace.
The Faculty is best at reminding us horror/sci-fi fans of the films that inspired the movie. Body Snatchers and The Thing spring to mind immediately and that is not a bad thing at all since I love both those movies. The young, updated film is a bit cornbally, but it manages to strike the right tone and what they want to showcase. This is a big testament to Rodriguez and the young cast of future stars as The Faculty keeps a brisk pace and nicely put together. I still tie this movie to my youth, so that might make me a bit biased as I remember being dropped off at the mall and going to see this movie with friends. It was a fun, popcorn flick that you can just sit back and enjoy.