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Review: 'The Faculty' is nothing new, but still some fun

Web posted on:
Monday, December 28, 1998 2:49:59 PM EST

From CNN Interactive Sr. Editor Dave Rickett

Jump ahead:

Compared to 'Scream'

(CNN) -- First let me answer the big question: Is "The Faculty" as solid as other Kevin Williamson-scribed hits such as "Scream," "I Know What You Did Last Summer," and "Dawson's Creek?" In a word, no.

The clever genre-wide self-awareness captured so well by "Scream" is lacking for the most part -- but I'm sure Williamson is tired of everything he touches being compared to "Scream," so we'll stop here.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers '98

"The Faculty" could almost be named "Invasion of the Body Snatchers '98" -- and the movie goes out of its way to let you know that. Sure, there's a little bit of "The Thing" in there, mixed with the episode of "Star Trek" in which Khan plants a parasite in Chekov's ear, and even a dash of "The Breakfast Club." But for the most part, the plot sticks to the body-snatcher theme, with the inhabitants of a small town slowly being transformed into complaisant hosts by alien beings. Nothing new here, just prettier people.

Is the alien worth it?

If you don't want to know what the alien looks like, skip to the next part.

This monster is sort of similar to the big squid thing in "Deep Rising," but not as big. It has a fish head with big, razor-sharp teeth and tentacles, both big and threadlike. That's the mama alien. It also comes complete with little baby aliens that wiggle their way into a host's ear and take control of his or her body.

The special effects aren't bad, but it leaves you wanting to see a lot more of them. If you haven't seen the creature in "Deep Rising," I'd check that one out before seeing this movie.

Still, it's a fun movie

Chances are, if you go to see this movie, you're not in it for intellectual stimulation. The opening sequence that introduces each of the characters to us is one of the best parts of the movie -- try to pay close attention, there's a lot going on there.

If you don't expect a lot from it, sit back and enjoy the dialogue, the good-looking characters and the special effects, you should have a good time.


This fairly standard movie Web site offers character info, downloads and games.

Both "Students" and "Faculty" sections provide a look at the actors and the characters they play. "Dress Code" is basically a big ad for Tommy Hilfiger and his role in "dressing a movie." "AV Lab" lets you watch the trailer, behind the scenes clips, and other multimedia features. "Downloads" is chock-full of JPEG images from the movie. "Fun & Games" has details about a sequel game. "Soundtrack" lets you listen to audio files from many of the artists on the movie track.


  • All-Movie Guide -- "Williamson's take-it-apart and put-it-back-together stitchmanship has become an arduous, reoccurring borefest." Rating: 3 1/2 stars

  • E! Online -- "It's not very original, but as directed by Rodriquez (From Dusk 'Til Dawn) it's certainly a whole lot of fun." Grade: B

  • Mr. Showbiz -- "'The Faculty' isn't awful, but the more Williamson explicitly references much better, much scarier, and much more resonant movies, the more you're aware of how thin and silly it is." Rating: 47 out of 100

  • The New York Times -- "'The Faculty'... opens with a clunky, bloody, cheap-thrills sequence that colors what happens afterward with triteness. The chief pleasures of the film, such as they are, remain the actors."


    Send the hate mail and love letters over here:

  • "The Faculty"
    Rated: R (language)
    Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror
    I RATE IT:
    All ratings are out of 5 aliens.


    3 alien


    1.5 aliens

    The alien/monster

    3.5 aliens

    As a sci-fi flick

    3.5 aliens

    Compared to all films

    2.5 aliens

    How many aliens do you give it?

    5 aliens
    4 aliens
    3 aliens
    2 aliens
    1 alien

    View Results
    Have you seen "Invasion of the Body Snatchers?" Same thing, but lots more swearing -- and prettier people.

    "Aliens are taking over our school"
    Video clip: 1.7Mb QuickTime
    Click if you want to know.
    "I leave for five minutes, I come back and everyone's a f---in' alien." -- Zeke, the student drug chemist.

    Click on a movie star to find out about their role and previous work.
    Elijah Wood
    Clea Duvall
    Jordana Brewster
    Josh Hartnett
    Laura Harris
    Shawn Hatosy
    Usher Raymond
    Robert Patrick
    Piper Laurie
    Bebe Neuwirth
    Famke Janssen
    Jon Stewart
    Salma Hayek
    Chris McDonald


    From executive-producing "Dawson's Creek" to using Sarah Michelle Gellar ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer") in "Scream 2" and "I Know What...", Kevin Williamson seems to have a love affair with the WB TV network.

    Which cast member from "The Faculty" do you predict will show up on the WB next?

    Elijah Wood
    Clea Duvall
    Jordana Brewster
    Josh Hartnett
    Laura Harris
    Shawn Hatosy

    View Results
    It ain't a teen flick without a couple of classic remakes. This one includes:

  • Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall," performed by Class of '99.
  • Alice Cooper's "School's Out," performed by Soul Asylum.
  • David Bowie's "Changes," performed by Shawn Mullins.

    You'll also find original cuts from Oasis, Sheryl Crow and Garbage.

    Check out the official Web site if you want to give it a listen.

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