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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

The Faculty (1998)


Don’t we all think our teachers are body-snatching aliens?

A geek (Elijah Wood) finds a small mollusk on a football field. He thinks it’s a new discovery until the school’s teachers start behaving very Children Of The Corn ish and become obsessed with the element of water. This is where many of the teenagers band together, all cliques aside and find out just what the hell is up with their teachers, why they’re acting so funny, and just hope that they don’t become like one of them. Because let’s face it: No high school kid wants to be a teacher, and if they do, they don’t want to be like THEIR high school teacher.

If you look up the term “slasher movie” in the 90’s dictionary, you’ll probably find a picture and a short bio of writer Kevin Williamson, who basically re-invented the horror movie franchise back in then with both Scream and Scream 2, among others. Then, if you look up “movie genius” in the same dictionary, you’ll probably see a picture and a short bio of Quentin Tarantino, but a synonym would probably be Robert Rodriguez. Putting them together for one, big horror movie seems like a pretty awesome idea full of wacky, zany fun and originality, right?

Only due to a supposed alien-invasion are they even considering being around one another.

Only due to a supposed alien-invasion are they even considering being around one another.

Well, it saddens to me say this, but disappointment ensues. But how?

In case you haven’t been able to tell, this is a lot like The Invasion of the Body Snatchers mixed with the kid from The Breakfast Club. It may not sound like the coolest idea ever, but Williamson and Rodriguez at least do a good job of making it entertaining with a couple of actual thrilling moments. This follows the same formula of your usual horror movie with the constant jumps and scares that we have come to know (and sometimes love) with the genre, and they work pretty effectively here. You can’t go into this expecting anything you haven’t ever really seen before, nor can you really expect something that breaks down the whole horror movie conventions, because not only has Williamson done that many times before, but he’s practically perfected it by now that it’s become somewhat predictable. You just got to go into this expecting an exciting and sometimes, funny ride that comes from two geniuses like Williamson and Rodriguez.

However, that’s the exact problem with this flick: Most have come to expect more from these two talents just because of what they have been able to do in the past, and to see them collaborate on a feature that’s anything but awesome, is really sad. With Williamson, we get some moments where these kids talk in a very self-referential about how they know that aliens exist, why they exist, and what they can do just to stop them; as well as a lot of references to other sci-fi flicks out there like Men in Black, E.T., and even The Invasion of the Body Snatchers itself, but it sort of comes off as a cheap rip-off because it’s so damn obvious that Williamson is basing this plot off of those flicks, so he thinks by referencing them in his own movie will give it some sort of gratitude and make it seem like less of a rip-off. So instead, it comes off just exactly like that and it’s sort of one of the golden rules where it doesn’t matter if you reference the film or not, if you are ripping it off, plain and simply, you are ripping it off! Bam!

As for Rodriguez, seeing what he can do with an ordinary story and take it in all of these different twists and turns, it’s pretty disappointing when he gives us a flick that’s not only pretty predictable from start to finish, but one that seems like it could have been directed by anybody. There’s no turtles, no Antonio Banderas, no Mexicano music playing somewhere in the background, and no vampires getting their heads blown off by George Clooney. Nope, instead it just seems like one of those typical horror movies that seems like it could have gone somewhere magical with this premise, but goes exactly to where you would expect it to go, which, given the talent that’s involved behind-the-camera, is a bit of a bummer.

Gosh, teachers!! You're so annoyingly weird!!

Gosh, teachers!! You’re so annoyingly weird!!

What makes this movie a little more appealing is the young cast, and deciphering who has had the biggest star out of all of them is now. And to be honest, I can’t really say since everybody seems like they’re on the somewhat same page. Elijah Wood is here as the typical geek that obviously knows something is up with all of the teachers and faculty at his school, and plays up that whole nerdy act with him very well. However, how many times have we seen this guy do that act before? Yeah, so it does kind of get old after awhile, no matter how early in his career it was. Josh Hartnett, being the stud that he is, plays the slacker who gets held-back, sells drugs and quite possibly gets it on with his very hot teacher. Hartnett’s good for this role and it’s a real wonder why he doesn’t do more with his career, although I feel like the novelty of a young, hot, charming dude has sort of worn-off and been thrown over to Channing Tatum.

Shawn Hatosy plays the jock that just wants to be known for being smart, and he’s pretty good at it. It’s a shame that he hasn’t really been showing up in much, except for Alpha Dog, where he played a total dick, but in a good way. Jordana Brewster plays the bitchy, high school newspaper-editor that seems to always be on everybody’s case about lord knows what, but she’s fine with it and I think she still deserves more hits at drama because I think this gal can really make it work, if given the chance. There’s a whole bunch of other peeps in this cast that’s worth talking about, but really, I don’t want to be here forever so just check the film out yourself and see all of these familiar faces who may, or may not be, showing their faces around anymore.

Consensus: Though it can be a lot of fun with some goofy references to other horror flicks that inspires it, The Faculty never fully comes through on its own as an original or different kind of horror thriller, and more as a carbon-copy of the movies it can’t help but crack jokes at and about.

5.5 / 10 = Rental!!

Okay, well I don't think he counts as anything.

Okay, well I don’t think he counts as anything.

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBJoblo

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22 responses to “The Faculty (1998)

  1. proseofrose October 9, 2013 at 4:26 am

    I’ve seen this movie three times and none were on purpose. I think the best part has been watching it age since the first time I watched it in the early aughts. (I miss the 90s – sniffle).There is something entrancing about it though. Even though I’ve never gone out of my way to see it, I’ve never turned it off either. :)

  2. angie chui October 9, 2013 at 5:37 am

    I saw this one when I was working part time in a video store and I actually liked it. It was pretty cool for the time when it came out. :D However, I always get its title confused with Detention.

  3. keith7198 October 9, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Good review man. I remember feeling the same way. Occasionally fun but utterly forgettable. It never does enough to set itself apart.

  4. thomasjford October 9, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Going through a bit of a Robert Rodriguez phase are we Dan?!

  5. Jaina October 9, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Definitely not one of those films that has held up well over time. It still amuses me. For mostly the same reason it amuses you – seeing where they all are now!

  6. vinnieh October 9, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Good review, it’s one of those movies I liked when I was younger, but am not sure about now.

  7. theipc October 9, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    AAAAAAAAAAAHHH Clea DuVall – I miss her. I should go watch some Carnivale. Nice work!

  8. Wendell October 9, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I actually paid to go see this in a theater…ugh! My most lasting impression is that Usher should stick to singing.

  9. Whit's Movie Reviews October 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    I really like Rodriguez for his Mariachi trilogy and Sin City. I think he should stick with exploitation flicks and violent comic book movies. When he strays away from that stuff he usually fails. Like in this or some of his kid-friendly ventures. Also, no Antonio Banderas? I’m out. Nice review!

  10. jklmd2002 October 10, 2013 at 2:00 am

    I love how every late 90s movie after “Scream” had that same movie poster layout of the cast. And what an interesting mix this one had. Funny looking at them and seeing where they went from there.

  11. The Movie Man October 11, 2013 at 4:44 am

    Mah oh man, The Faculty was my jam when I was younger! Used to scare the shit out of me, so there’s some good memories there. I agree with you though, it’s pretty average (borderline crap). I just love the nostalgia of seeing a young Elijah Woods and a youngish Jon Stewart! haha

  12. Evan Crean October 16, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Even handed honest review Dan. The Faculty is a total guilty pleasure for me. One of those late night, low brain power flicks. Complete junk food, the cinematic equivalent to a cheeseburger. I still love it anyway haha. For a Rodriguez movie, I agree that it’s disappointing because he doesn’t do anything particularly special with the material. That said, he still delivers a decent self-aware horror flick. I think most of the fun comes from the who’s who of young actors early in their careers and older ones portraying the titular faculty. The dialogue is so awful, yet so hilarious. Like who calls someone dingus?

  13. Pingback: » Movie Review – White House Down Fernby Films

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