The Faculty (1998) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Faculty (1998) Review

Horrorific content by dusan on May 02nd, 2022 | Movie Review | Alien, Sci-Fi, Teen

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When Casey Connor, Herrington High School's newspaper photographer, witnesses the murder of a nurse and sees her alive again, he decides to investigate the bizarre happenings.

The Faculty is a 90’s teen horror film directed by Robert Rodriguez (best known for From Dusk Till Dawn, Planet Terror) and stars Elijah Wood (yes, Frodo from LOTR also known for Maniac and Come to Daddy), Josh Hartnett (from Haloween H20 and 30 Days of Night), Usher (Yeah, that Usher), Jordana Brewster (from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning), Clea DuVall (from The Grudge and Identity), Laura Harris (from Severance), Shawn Hatosy, Salma Hayek (well known exotic-dancer/vampire From Dusk Till Dawn) and Robert Patrick (T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgement Day).

Take me to your teacher

The Faculty (1998) Review

This is a horror film done right. It has everything that is needed for cult status. A diverse cast, an excellent writer and director, a great story, and lots of action. This film is a blast from start to finish. It is clearly visible The Faculty was influenced heavily by some great horrors from earlier years; John Carpenter’s The Thing and Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers are just some that come to mind. Although the film creates an atmosphere of mistrust and isolation between the protagonists, similar to The Thing, it is a teen horror with a plot centered around a town high school filled with teachers and hundreds of teenagers. This is a good thing because it creates a unique setting and allows the movie to gather its own fan base.

For many people, especially newer fans of horror, mixing teen horror with sci-fi is not the best thing to do. The main problem is presented in the fact that it is hard to determine where the movie wants to go. For most horror films involving teens, the blueprint is simple. Let’s look at Scream: a bunch of students, a knife-wielding maniac in a mask, lots of action, and a great twist. It is not just teen killer horrors. Supernatural also goes well with teen horror: vampires, witches, ghosts... But when you mix in heavy sci-fi, it gets a bit complicated. For that reason, I always love to look at this film as a standard teen vs. alien with an interesting twist. Put in some fantastic action scenes, a strong cast, great dialogue, good CGI, a lot of scares, and you get a guaranteed 104 minutes of enjoyment.

What worked well for me is our leading group of protagonists. Each of them was an outcast in their specific way, so it made sense that trust issues would be a big problem. Especially once they realize something might be overtaking the bodies of the teachers and fellow students. All of them had weaknesses, and that is what our antagonist preyed on; luckily our bunch of misfits turned out to be a hard nut to crack. And if you are wondering if it's scary? Hell yes, the school teachers have that strange mix of creepy and scary. Well, ok, not coach Joe Willis (Patrick)... He is just frightening!

I'm not going to go too deep into spoiler waters (you’ll know what I mean), but there is a scene where a chemistry genius bad-boy Zeke (Hartnett) figures out a way to test which ones are still human and which are the imposters. Yes, one of many The Thing references. The chemistry between the group did the trick, and it pulled me into the story and kept me guessing until the final act.

Worth Watching?

Yes. Even if you are not a big fan of teen sci-fi horror, you will find enough things to enjoy from numerous subgenres present in The Faculty. A must-watch!

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WARNING: This video contains spoilers

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