The Faculty Reviewby "Berge Garabedian" (drsuess AT microtec DOT net)
December 30th, 1998
RATING: 6.5 / 10 --> So-so
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Director Robert Robriguez teams up with the new sensation in horror films, screenwriter Kevin Williamson, for a mixed up movie which mingles elements of many other films including THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, THE THING (8/10) and THE BREAKFAST CLUB (7.5/10). This film was also one of the first to be heavily sponsored by a clothing line for its publicity, as Tommy Hillfiger decided to take a stab at the movies himself.
Six unique students with their respective identities all agree on one thing: they believe their teachers to be possessed by aliens. As the story unfolds, we find that their far-fetched theory is not that far off.
Passable horror flic manages to steal from literally every horror and science-fiction movie from the past (while acknowledging most with a wink of the eye), while moving at a slower pace than I would've anticipated from a Rodriguez film, featuring some solid performances from all of its stars, and a scattered set of special effects that were anything but out of this world. This movie was never boring, but never really did manage to blow me away from my seat either. The multitude and breadth of its cast was elaborate and fun to watch, featuring Usher the rapper, Bebe Neuwirth from TV's "Cheers", Josh Hartnett from this year's other scary movie H20: HALLOWEEN (7.5/10) and even Summer Phoenix, sister of Joaquin Phoenix, and the late River Phoenix. Add to that, the fact that the script also wasn't anything fantastic, and neither was the directorial style from the eye of Robert Rodriguez, and you've got yourself a semi-interesting peek into a genre that could easily be improved upon in the future.
There were a couple of scenes that were cool to see, and some slick lines, but all in all this film drove along the standard teen horror terrain without a kink in the road, with many science-fiction elements tossed in for effect. The length of the film might not have been such an issue with me, were it not for the fact that the students seemed to go on discussing their issues ad infinitum, explaining the film as it went along. I would suggest this film to all those that have enjoyed the rest of the recent crop of horror junkfilms that have passed through their mutliplexes of late, but ask that you not expect too much in regards to originality or style. For the rest of you, well, just go out and rent the original SCREAM (8/10) for a real good script by Williamson, or see John Carpenter's classic sci-fi movie, THE THING (8/10). All in all, a believable tale of sci-fi horror with an unnecessary cast of names who play their roles quite well, which ultimately didn't astound me due to its deja-vu factor, and which surely could've used some Christmas "trimming" of its own.
Little Known Facts about this film and its stars:
One obvious nod in the script to his own previous hit films, has Zeke selling black market videocassettes of "Jennifer Love Hewitt and Neve Campbell with full-frontal nudity" out of the trunk of his car. As we all know by now, each respective girl starred in the Kevin Williamson-penned screenplays of SCREAM (8/10) and I STILL KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (7.5/10).
Harry Knowles, the man behind the infamous "Ain't it Cool" Web site at http://www.aint-it-cool-news.com/ has an appearance in this film. He apparently plays the "film teacher" in the movie, but just look for the overweight gentleman with the red hair, who seems to hang around in the faculty lounge.
Summer Phoenix, younger sister of Joaquin Phoenix and the late River Phoenix, plays the girl who keeps smacking her boyfriend around for the whole movie.
Piper Laurie, the scary-looking teacher with the fat face, also played CARRIE's (7/10) overbearing mom in the 1976 classic Brian DePalma film.
Robert Patrick, who plays Coach Willis in this film, is best remembered as the T-1000 character that he played opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1991's TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (8/10).
Clea Duvall, who plays Stokely in this film is not related to acting legend Robert Duvall.
Salma Hayek has played a role in all of director Robert Rodriguez' Hollywood pictures. She stands 5"2, was born in southeast Mexico, and is the daughter of a Lebanese father and a Mexican mother. Hayek began her career in Mexican TV soap operas in late 80's.
Famke Janssen was born in Holland, where she began her professional career as a model.
Laura Harris, who plays Mary Beth in this film, also played in SUICIDE KINGS (6.5/10). She was the sister who got kidnapped by the mobsters. Director Robert Robriguez earned most of the $7000 it cost to make his first picture EL MARIACHI (7/10) by subjecting himself to experimental drug studies. He has a son named Rocket.
Review Date: December 26, 1998
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Producers: Robert Rodriguez, Elizabeth Avellan and Bill Scott Actors: Elijah Wood as Casey
Josh Hartnett as Zeke
Clea Duvall as Stokely
Shawn Wayne Hatosy as Stan
Laura Harris as Marybeth
Jordana Brewster as Delila
Genre: Science-Fiction/ Horror
Year of Release: 1998
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(c) 1998 Berge Garabedian
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