In my youth, I remember seeing advertisements for Robert Rodriguez’s The Faculty. “Scary teachers?” I thought, ” I have those too!” It’s too bad that I was only eight years old and definitely wasn’t able to see this, but I’m not sure I would’ve enjoyed it at that time. As an adult, this film has a lot of merit and has traces of the Sam Raimi brand of horror; the kind of horror that escalates so quickly and absurdly that the tension is broken and you’re allowed to laugh at the events on screen. For most of my life, those have always been the most enjoyable ones.
The Faculty opens as most horror movies do, a principal is accosted by other faculty members that just seem a bit off. The following day, we’re introduced to all the characters and many faces that are all too familiar in today’s film culture: Jordana Brewster as the beautiful cheerleader, Delilah Profitt, Josh Harnett as the intelligent druggy, Zeke Tyler, and Elijah Wood as the nerdy loser, Casey Connor. In addition to that cast of characters, we also have the strange goth, the girl next door, and the jock. This film does things a little differently by flipping those tropes on their head and showing that the outward expressions of a teenager might not always reflect what’s in their hearts.
It becomes clear rather quickly that an alien is inhabiting the residents in this small, Texas town, while leaving our group of heroes unscathed. That doesn’t last for long as one-by-one, the team starts to fall and people begin to suffer the same fate of the townspeople. In the end, we learn that one of the aforementioned teens is actually the queen of the aliens and must be vanquished to free the town.
The Faculty is a highly original take on horror and never really falls prey to the normal issues that these types of films suffer from. Its pace is consistent and quick, its characters are interesting and relatable, and its engaging with many twists and turns– trying to deceive you and keep you on your toes.
The trouble is that this can be a negative at times. More often than not, Rodriguez will knowingly withhold important information and disguise things in a way that is deceitful. At one point in the movie, a character is forced to snort a white powder to prove that they aren’t an alien. At the time in the movie, everything makes sense, but later we recount the events that happened at that time and we are clearly shown something that did not happen in the first scene. To be a truly great film, The Faculty would need to incorporate these deceptions in a way that does not openly make the audience into fools.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable 90s horror flick that deserves attention for its consistent tone and great performances.
Matt: Watch Gabe: Watch