Re-Watch: The Faculty (1998)

The Faculty
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Writer: Kevin Williamson
Cast: Elijah Wood, Clea DuVall, Josh Hartnett, Laura Harris, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster, Robert Patrick, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Jon Stewart, Piper Laurie, Christopher McDonald, Bebe Neuwirth, Usher Raymond, Daniel von Bargen

Plot:
Something weird is going on in Herrington High School, Ohio. Even weirder than the usual high school occurrences, that is: aliens are slowly taking over the teachers, starting with the football coach (Robert Patrick). But a group of teenagers notice that something weird is going on: nerdy Casey (Elijah Wood), gothy Stokely (Clea DuVall), jock Stan (Shawn Hatosy), cheerleader Delilah (Jordana Brewster), bad boy Zeke (Josh Hartnett) and country girl Marybeth (Laura Harris) get thrown together by circumstances and decide to fight.

I think I saw The Faculty the first time when I was 14, maybe 15. Until then I hadn’t had much contact with horror in general (though I probably had read a Stephen King novel or two), but I knew high school movies. And in its combination of High School and Horror, The Faculty proved to be my gateway drug into the entire horror genre (arguably also because I was madly in love with Josh Hartnett’s Zeke afterwards). I love it for that. But also as a movie in its own right, it’s pretty damn awesome.

The Faculty is a movie for horror and SciFi fans. You’ll enjoy it most if you speak the film’s language – and it’s a language built from references and genre conventions. In short, it’s full of in-jokes that I had no idea where going on when I saw the film for the first time. I did acquire at least some of the vocabulary in the meantime and it does make the film even more enjoyable.

But the really great thing about The Faculty is that it also works if you don’t know squat about horror and SciFi, if you’ve never seen Invasion of the Body Snatchers. All it needs is that you felt like a weird outcast in school at some point. And let’s face it, who didn’t?

The cast is great, especially the kids, but also the teachers. I don’t know when I saw the film last, but I either didn’t know Jon Stewart at the time or had forgotten that he was in this. In any case I was really surprised (in a really good way) when I noticed him.

The soundtrack is nice, the pacing is good and it’s just so very obvious that Robert Rodriguez really had fun with this film, you can’t help but have fun, too.

Summarising: If you have any love for genre films, you should definitely see it.

2 thoughts on “Re-Watch: The Faculty (1998)

  1. I remember watching this with a whole bunch of other teenage giggly girls when I was about 15 at a sleepover. Distinctly being a Casey girl rather than a Zeke addict though. So much better than the other teen “horror” fare of the time. Thanks for the blast from the past!

    • I’m still a Zeke girl, I admit it. I’m usually not that into bad boys, but his intelligence beneath his don’t give a fuck attitude is still damn sexy.

      But yes, it’s above and beyond most teen horror films!

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