The Faculty Review

by Joe Chamberlain (movieguy AT fundy DOT net)
March 6th, 1999

The Faculty
A review by Joe Chamberlain

Starring Elijah Wood; Jordana Brewster; Clea Duvall; Laura Harris & Josh Hartnett
When I went into The Faculty I was expecting a typical teen horror flick. I figured it may be a bit above average considering that Kevin Williamson (Scream, Scream 2) had written the screenplay. My theory was that if Williamson was involved, at the very least this movie was going to be entertaining. Not only was the movie entertaining, but Williamson has proven once again that he is one of the most gifted writers in Hollywood. Add to that Robert Rodriguez’ great job in the director’s chair and you have the makings of a pretty good film. When you throw in a great young cast, you have a winner.

Elijah Wood plays the school whipping post, who works at the school newspaper with the head cheerleader (Jordana Brewster). In the course of looking for leads for a new story, they discover an even bigger one. Their teachers have been taken over by aliens, which are rapidly taking over the rest of the school. It then falls to them and four of their classmates, the only six people left in the school unaffected, to find a way to stop the aliens before they can take over the world. OK, it sounds a little corny, but it actually comes off pretty well. There is never any real point at which you start saying to yourself "As if that would happen". Of course, you have to get by the whole alien invasion thing. After gettting passed that, you are home free.

In terms of casting, The Faculty is fairly impressive. To make up for the relatively unknown, but extremely talented cast of high school students, the producers decided to cast some familiar faces in the roles of the faculty. They include Robert Patrick (the liquid terminator in Terminator 2), the high school principal is Bebe Neuwirth (Cheers), and the school nurse is Salma Hayek. (I'm betting every guy in that school gets sick at least once a week.) If Salma weren't enough, adding to the babe factor is Famke Janssen (Goldeneye). Among the young cast of students is only a couple of recognizable names, they are Josh Hartnett (who played Jamie Lee Curtis' son in Halloween: H20) and Elijah Wood (Free Willie). Singer Usher also makes a brief appearance in a small role. Adding some heat to the younger generation are up a coming hotties Jordana Brewster and Laura Harris. I enjoyed the performances of the whole cast. Of course, this is a horror movie and not Shakespeare, so nobody was really stretching their acting talents to the limit. As horror movie casts go, this one was fun to watch.

Unlike the early slasher type films of the late seventies and eighties, The Faculty actually had a production budget and it shows. This film wasn't shot on any shoestring budget, nor where the special effects cooked up in somebody's garage. The Faculty lives up to the high production values that were set by Scream a few years ago. So it’s no coincidence that Kevin Williamson was involved in both films. Maybe it even raises the bar a bit. Considering that this was a movie about aliens, visual effects are a little more important.

It’s a great movie. Although, parents should be warned -- The Faculty is not for the kids, even though it seems to be marketed towards them.


The Movie Guy

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