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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.89%
Worth A Look35.14%
Average: 22.97%
Pretty Bad: 14.86%
Total Crap: 10.14%

7 reviews, 106 user ratings

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Faculty, The
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Fun, but could have been more fun."
4 stars

Crap comes in various degrees: 'The Faculty,' for example, is a crappy teen horror movie, but in director Robert Rodriguez's hands it's at least agreeably crappy.

Rodriguez, who made such a splash in 1992 with his $7,000 debut El Mariachi, now seems to have resigned himself to being a hired gun for Dimension (Miramax's horror-movie branch), cranking out stuff like From Dusk Till Dawn and this movie. But, as hired guns go, Rodriguez has good aim. Even when the script runs out of ammo, Rodriguez keeps things visually edgy. He may never be more than a stylish B-movie director, but I'll take his B stuff over failed A-movies like Patch Adams.

Written by Kevin Williamson, the teen avatar of the late '90s, the movie is an unabashed rip-off of -- uh, sorry, homage to -- the paranoid subgenre of alien-possession flicks, particularly Invasion of the Body Snatchers and John Carpenter's The Thing. (There's even a rewrite of the blood-test scene in The Thing.) The setting: a grungy Ohio high school, carefully established as chaotic and rowdy at the beginning. That's so that we'll be alarmed when the rude, crude teenagers become pod people, marching to their classes in formation. Fine, but the effect is that most of the teens are so obnoxious that pod-personhood seems like a graceful alternative.

The teachers are beginning to act strangely, and some of the most popular students are following suit. As usual, the misfit students form the core of the resistance: wimpy Elijah Wood, surly riot-grrl Clea DuVall, faux-dope dealer Josh Hartnett (his drugs are mostly caffeine, so he's okay), new kid Laura Harris, and two fallen popular kids, cheerleader Jordana Brewster and head quarterback Shawn Hatosy -- they all suspect something weird's going on, and of course no one will believe them, because if they were credible, the movie would be over quickly.

If, like me, you're a horror fan, you've seen this all before. It's been done, but has it been done well here? The Faculty is about high-school kids, so there's a limit on how tacky it can get (no nudity, for instance) -- it's not quite a cheesy guilty pleasure like Rodriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn, which was penned by another hip screenwriter, Quentin Tarantino. The difference between Tarantino and Kevin Williamson becomes clear with this movie: Tarantino knows the rules and plays with them; Williamson plays by them. The Williamson approach, it's obvious by now, is to have a few scenes in which your characters comment on the staleness of the plot they're enacting. Which doesn't make the plot any fresher.

Except for the always-appealing Elijah Wood and the smartly cynical Clea DuVall, the teen actors don't register; they succeed or fail to the degree that they sound like they're actually talking and not rattling off Williamson's hyperarticulate dialogue. More fun to watch are the possessed teachers, including hipster biology teacher Jon Stewart, roughneck coach Robert Patrick, wallflower-turned-hellcat Famke Janssen, dead-voiced Bebe Neuwirth, and just plain scary Piper Laurie. In their scenes, Rodriguez is in his element; he doesn't seem to have much interest in the whitebread teenagers, and so we don't either.

Rodriguez is in his element, too, in the special-effects scenes, when little sluglike parasites are burrowing around in people's faces or when the big mama alien makes its appearance -- the director is like a kid playing with monster toys (he's usually like a kid playing with action figures). The better parts of The Faculty are when Rodriguez can leave the script in the dust and get both hands bloody.

His work here is playful enough to make 'The Faculty' worth a look, but it'll leave you with a question more disturbing than anything in the movie: At what point does a talented stylist stop being a director to watch, and start becoming a hack for hire?

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originally posted: 01/13/07 10:06:35
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell teenage invasion of the body snatchers cool characters 3 stars
11/19/13 richard with the cast and director this had it should have been much better 1 stars
1/30/10 Dane Youssef Not bad, but nothing special. Standard kiddie sci-fi fare w/some light "Scream" stuff. 2 stars
6/30/09 art THESE KID"S WE"RE ON DRUG"S! 1 stars
2/23/07 David Pollastrini good gore and hot women! 5 stars
8/05/06 nicklor24 good flick, check it out if you haven't already 5 stars
4/25/06 Eden Nothing amazing, but its fun to watch. A guilty pleasure 4 stars
1/09/06 aimless only borderline moronic 3 stars
1/03/06 cody a cool flick, teenage verison of invasion of body snatchers, cool characters and story 4 stars
8/18/05 ES Good movie with some neat monster action = give it a try 4 stars
10/13/04 Laura Elijah is sooooooooooooo hott in this movie!! 5 stars
6/11/04 Bajs Smooth 5 stars
4/11/04 reptilensi My secret guilty pleasure. I love this movie! 4 stars
3/22/04 Vicious all the bad shit from high school is actually quite spot on. Fun allegory. 4 stars
2/29/04 melissa this movie kicked ass 5 stars
1/24/04 Elena Garbage. Nothing original. Laughable. But Elijah Wood is so damn adorable. 1 stars
12/26/03 Sara Highly Enjoyable 5 stars
12/10/03 Samuel good! 3 stars
12/03/03 Agent Sands I hope it's a spoof, because that's basically all it amounts to. 3 stars
11/04/03 American Slasher Goddess Basically, a teen version of the Invasion of the Body Snatchers that's watchable. 3 stars
12/21/02 palaboy101 Just becoz ur paranoid doesn't mean they're not out 2 get u... 5 stars
12/06/02 GIA B O R I N G !!!!!!!!!!! 2 stars
6/26/02 Film Guy Good i highly enjoyed this movie cvery suspensful but kinda predictable ending 3 stars
5/30/02 wouldn't u like to know? it's great!!! 5 stars
5/15/02 Blake This movie was asome 5 stars
4/07/02 Callie McGarry I loved your movie you are so cool and cute 5 stars
3/08/02 Mo Anand great of the better teen horror to Scream 4 stars
2/20/02 Sylvie Alice Borden Great! But why was awesome Salma Hayek wasted in a bit part? 5 stars
2/20/02 Andrew Carden Mediorce, but Enjoyable [and Scary] B-Movie Creature Flick. 4 stars
1/04/02 KMG Can't believe Elijah Wood signed on for this shit! 1 stars
1/03/02 yaserodwan i love her 5 stars
12/01/01 Scottish Kilt A rip-off of John Carpenters Thing, But wasn't the worst ive ever seen. 3 stars
11/17/01 Janus the Anus Pretty dumb movie, worth 2 stars, but gratuitous nudity deserves an extra star 3 stars
10/29/01 xcvcvc xcvxc 1 stars
10/04/01 Phoenix I thought it might be stupid, but I found The Faculty very enjoyable. 4 stars
8/29/01 Gary Hartnett's and DuVall's efforts are wasted in this messy shit. Jansenn is sexy tho. 1 stars
6/30/01 ***Super Girl*** josh was more of a star than salma hayek she had like 5 minutes air time! and she sucked!! 4 stars
6/12/01 Rebecca (hartnett) I wanna li-li-li-lick josh from his head to his toe, he is so fucking sexy! I love him!yum 4 stars
6/03/01 Rebecca Worth a look cuz Josh Hartnett is so indcredibly hot! 4 stars
6/02/01 Thrillhouse X-Files meets Boston Public 3 stars
5/12/01 The Moorhen Shitty start, shitty ending. The best bit is that girl wandering around naked for a while. 4 stars
5/05/01 Bada Bing Crosby Blow me Delilah cause I'm sick of your shit 5 stars
5/04/01 roby lafon like any other sci-fi movie but still good 5 stars
5/04/01 Gracy Lionheart Not a great movie, but entertaining if you're dieing of boredom. 3 stars
3/10/01 Jake That Josh Hartnett is butt ugly. 1 stars
2/15/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Decent teen sci-fi/horror. At least the characters aren't troglodytes dressed in Gap. 4 stars
2/14/01 Richard Wright How can ANYONE recommend this pile of crap? Have you all taken leave of your senses?! 1 stars
2/12/01 Brian Williamson and Rodriguez show their love of movies(good&bad)in this gem. Count the homages! 4 stars
1/08/01 Krystal Wascom JOSH HARTNETT is HOT 4 stars
10/24/00 Ground Zero 2 words: Salma Hayek 3 stars
10/02/00 Madoc69 agreed decent B-flick 3 stars
8/16/00 Terrie Smith Better than most of the teen gore films; nice to see Piper Laurie in a limited role. 4 stars
8/01/00 Elvisfan decent B-flick; could be called "10 Things I Hate About Body Snatchers" 3 stars
7/11/00 DAVID I hate teenie bopper movies but this one is an exception!! 4 stars
4/29/00 Steve Layne Underrated and with time has gotten better than most teen movies of the 90's. 5 stars
4/24/00 ryan Josh Hartnett was sooo HOT!!!! My only reason for watching 5 stars
2/21/00 arnold great cast great movie 5 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Takes itself way too seriously, and the ending is laughable. But I've seen MUCH worse. 4 stars
1/16/00 Lame-Oh Do Kevin Williamson a favor and teach him a lesson in being stupid, straight faced me 2 stars
11/01/99 SMILEY Excellent idea, awesome cast 5 stars
10/25/99 Monni excellent 5 stars
8/15/99 Kate I thought it was awesome. One of the best "teen" movies out there. 5 stars
7/14/99 Marshy Funky- drug filled, paranoia trip with a heavy dose of B movie. 4 stars
7/08/99 The Bomb 69 "He's tweakin', let him tweak" Zeke is so cool! 5 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Sorry folks- this movie is well worth seeing. This homage to 50's alien flicks is great. 4 stars
4/13/99 Jon Jackson A slightly underrated flick, enjoyable. 3 stars
4/05/99 Cool Thing Very very ordinary. Not scary, not believable, formula all the way. 2 stars
3/10/99 Ah Dooey Body Snatchers meet Party of Five on crack 3 stars
3/01/99 Spankey The movie had an alright plot, and Josh Hartnett was awesome, but Usher...I don't think so 4 stars
2/28/99 MR HOLLYWOOD!! Usher fucks it up!,Suspense,F/X,and Kevin Williamson,what more else?,how bout some reality 4 stars
2/23/99 punkpixie I thought this movie kicked ass. I saw it twice. This movie is "guaranteed to jack you up" 5 stars
2/17/99 ShadowStar The movie was like a candy bar: would've been easier to swallow if they removed the rapper 1 stars
2/16/99 Christian Lowell I didn't like that a rapper got to be in it. Rap is evil and rappers are dirty and inhuman 1 stars
2/10/99 Justin Roberts Sucks a big white ASS 1 stars
2/08/99 SwampyD I've seen better movies on MST3K 1 stars
2/06/99 Mark Reilly Movie was on the low side of ok... soundtrack was AWESOME!! 3 stars
2/05/99 luke mccoy i loved the movie it was awsome 5 stars
2/02/99 CYaniDERuSH fuck u tommy hill and all of you wanna stupid clones 1 stars
1/31/99 El Dorko Great, but where's the adrenaline rush and fun? 2 stars
1/28/99 kelly another rapper playing a role he can't do 2 stars
1/28/99 Whiplash pretty good. 3 stars
1/28/99 Brandi Gilbert not bad 3 stars
1/25/99 Cool thing Williamson has gotten so repetitive. 2 stars
1/25/99 Meepos. Didn't expect a lot, but really, this was awful all over. 2 stars
1/20/99 jvt Kevin Williamson does not have an original thought in his head 2 stars
1/17/99 Redial I love horrors but this 1 actually has a plot, which makes it better. And Marsden is HOT! 5 stars
1/12/99 Miss Scarlett So when should we expect the sequel? OH GOD!!!! 1 stars
1/12/99 Mr Showbiz derivative, scare-less paean to body-snatcher movies 2 stars
1/12/99 Frenchie the Frenchman tres sexy! 4 stars
1/12/99 Bluntman Bullshit! Williamson is a hack and a half! 2 stars
1/11/99 I.P. Freeley Dawson's Creek meets The Outer Limits. 'Nuff said. 4 stars
1/10/99 David Barnett This was the most annoyingly generic movie I've seen in a long time. 2 stars
1/10/99 Sicarius Cool teachers and teens but the monster yawn 3 stars
1/09/99 Freyja Entertaining enough for the $5 I paid. And that's good enough for me. 4 stars
1/07/99 Jo Mama This movie kicks ass! Lots of fun...I laughed my ass off. Laura Harris is a hottie! 4 stars
1/06/99 E Invasion of the Body Snatchers part 19. A slow witted and dull movie. No fun. 2 stars
1/03/99 Fartass Party of Five a la X-Files. Gotta love it. 4 stars
1/02/99 Johny I am not. Williamson doesn't employ one original piece into the script. I didn't HATE it. 2 stars
1/02/99 Chris Johny is an Idiot 4 stars
1/01/99 jvt Blatantly unoriginal, but it's better than SCREAM 2 2 stars
12/29/98 Schizofrenic Goosebumps a la The Outer Limits. Not bad for a sci-fi flick. 3 stars
12/29/98 tr This movie is one of the worst of 1998. 1 stars
12/26/98 Shadow Raider How did this crap get released on Chrismas day? 3 stars
12/26/98 kozmic If you have seen invasion of the body snatchers then this flick won't impress you. 3 stars
12/26/98 The Dude this movie is one of the best sience fiction-action movie I've ever fucking seen. 5 stars
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  25-Dec-1998 (R)
  DVD: 12-Apr-2011


  11-Feb-1999 (M)

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