I first watched The Faculty at a sleepover when I was about fourteen. My VHS copy died around the birth of the dvd and for reasons unknown I only got around to purchasing a copy in 2012 when I spotted it completely by accident on sale.
PLOT: In a typical high school in small-town America a group of students discover that their teachers are aliens and are slowly starting to infect the student population.
It is up to the geek (Elijah Wood), the jock (Shawn Hatosy), the cheerleader (Jordanna Brewster), the goth (Clea DuVall), the new girl (Laura Harris) and the rebel (Josh Hartnett) to form an unlikely alliance and save the school.
In their quest to kill the queen they begin to suspect that one of more of the group may already be infected.
Kids: the drugs do work. END PLOT
The Faculty is essentially a remake of The Invasion of The Body Snatchers. The twist is the characters are aware of Jack Finney’s novel and use their knowledge of his book to try and figure out what is going on.
Once the group has assembled the plot follows typical horror beats as each teen is picked off one by one by the Faculty. The script doesn’t offer anything new but neither does try. This isn’t a criticism as it manages to allow events to unfold in a ridiculously fan manner which never strays into parody.
The teens consist of well known high school stereotypes, all of whom are trying to break out of the clichéd norm – the jock wants to study, the geek becomes the hero, the rebel turns out to extremely academic – and this ties in nicely with the aliens removing their human hosts’ key characteristics. The change in each character at the end of the film almost succeeds in creating an ambiguous ending.
In 1998 the teenagers of The Faculty were all unknown and have gone on to reach varying levels of success in their acting careers. The young cast all put in very strong performances but they owe a thank you to the dialogue. The group bitches their way through the invasion and the snappy exchanges, put downs and one liners add to the comedic tone of the film.
The Faculty are just as recognisable with Robert Patrick, Salma Hayek, Famke Jansen and Bebe Neuwirth and more appearing in small but effective roles. In 2012 the cast boasts an impressive list of names.
With the exception of Mr Furlong’s Fingers the effects and action have aged surprisingly well although I have watched better blu-ray conversions as some of the skylines and backgrounds did appear quite grainy, especially when outside.
The soundtrack is very decent with some slick covers of "Another Brick In The Wall" and "Schools Out". I am thankful for the omission of “I Want You To Want Me” – a very annoying song which is associated with every high school based film around the turn of the millennium.
The Faculty was a VHS favourite at the age of fourteen but I cannot believe just how much love I still have for the film at twenty-six. I was expecting to enjoy it in a nostalgic fashion but I think I love it more now than I did then.
Those of you who know me well enough are aware of my obsession with 90minute filler films - with The Faculty I have been reunited with my first 90minute love. I will openly admit that it is not the best film ever made but I just cannot give it anything less than 10/10.