Herrington High, Ohio, a small-town highschool. All of a sudden, the teachers start changing attitude. When Casey and Delilah have to hide in a closet in the teacher's lounge, they witness the strangulation of Nurse Harper by two of them. Shocked, they manage to flee. Only moments later, the nurse seems to be very alive, but also somehow changed, like all the teachers and most of the students. Only Casey, Delilah and four others seem to be suspicious. Proof of an alien infection is finally brought by the chemistry teacher, who also points out a way to kill the infected humans. The plan now is to get the queen, before the aliens can spread out over the whole country.
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
. Starring: Jordana Brewster
, Clea DuVall
, Laura Harris
, Josh Hartnett
, Shawn Hatosy
, Salma Hayek
, Famke Janssen
, Piper Laurie
, Christopher McDonald
, Bebe Neuwirth
, Robert Patrick
, Usher Raymond
, Jon Stewart
. Music by: Marco Beltrami
THE FACULTY may be a stylish, imaginative B-movie, but it lacks vitality. Considering the talents of both director Robert Rodriguez (who made the ultraviolent but slick film FROM DUSK TILL DAWN) and screenwriter Kevin Williamson (who penned SCREAM and SCREAM 2) involved in this project, I thought that it was somewhat of a disappointment. THE FACULTY starts off well, with a creepy, suspenseful intro. Then, everything falls apart...
At Herrington High School, the teachers have been behaving very strangely. They love to mold new minds. These teachers have a nasty habit of disciplining their students. Let's meet them. Mrs. Olson (Piper Laurie) is one of the many teachers with a friendly facade...but a ghastly personality. Principal Drake (Bebe Neuwirth) may seem demure at first, but do not cross her. Coach Willis (Robert Patrick) will do anything to keep the school spirit held up high especially during the football season. Ms. Burke (Famke Janssen) may be seductive and foxy, but she's one wicked lady! Then, there's Mr. Furlong (Jon Stewart), the biology teacher who likes to experiment on more than just zygote... Also, there is Nurse Harper (Salma Hayek). To them, "cruel and unusual" punishment is meaningless...
There is a hideous conspiracy amongst the teachers themselves. What's going on here and why have these once loving instructors gone berserk?
It's up to a group of brave but foolhardy students to unravel the mysteries behind the teachers' weird personalities. These students are an interesting bunch. They include Casey (Elijah Wood), an awkward and bullied teen. Zeke (Josh Hartnett) is a rambunctious, smart-mouthed rebel. Stokely (Clea DuVall) is an alienated outcast who has a liking for science-fiction works. There's Gabe (Usher Raymond), a conceited football player, and Marybeth (Laura Harris), a Southerner who happens to be the new kid. Delilah (Jordana Brewster) is the head cheerleader who thinks she is all that! Last, but not least, is Stan (Shawn Hatosy), a star athlete but troubled student.
An all out war between the students and the faculty inevitably ensues. Who will survive the impending bloodshed? Who will fall? Will mankind prevail, or is invasion imminent?
THE FACULTY has shown so much promise just within the first fifteen minutes. With high-octane suspense and crisp direction, the viewer is at first engrossed with the film's interesting story. The viewer is drawn into the unpredictable madness. Although the viewer will indeed probably keep watching, this rather derivative premise does not keep the person enthralled... THE FACULTY starts off rather well, but it loses its intensity by the end as it descends into clichés.
In actuality though, THE FACULTY is decent trash aimed for audiences of "camp" movies. This film includes superior production values and the wide array of inventive personalities help make this film less painful. The aliens themselves are a lot more fun to watch then the stolid characters. These mean aliens, a hybrid of an insect and the octopus look awesome. The gruesome FX also accompany this motion picture. There are adequate plot twists here and there and the irascible suspense is guaranteed to make you jump. Lots of great performances too. Robert Patrick especially tears up the screen as a raging, pugnacious physical education teacher who is out of control!
So why am I left with a feeling of dissatisfaction after watching this film? Well, this movie is just not enjoyable! Technically, THE FACULTY is above average, but on an enjoyment scale, it just does not cut it. The problem with this movie is its pompousness. The people behind and in front of the camera try to impress the audience, but they only do so occasionally. The teenage cast tries to act hip, but they are the usual high school caricatures. The crew tries to display all of the wild effects possible, but it's been done before and before. Also, this movie tries to riff on the "alien parasites take over human bodies" sub-genre, but it lacks the sharp, witty references that could have made this film even more fun. Finally, my biggest complaint is the film's leaden pace. THE FACULTY is not exciting. The action sequences lack the clever direction that one would expect from Robert Rodriguez. This film tries to be enlivening but there are just too many gaps between this movie's perilous moments. Listless chases fill up most of the screen-time while lengthy conversations virtually bring this film to a halt at many spots...
I will affirm that THE FACULTY is a nice homage to the science-fiction "alien invasion" genre of the 1950s. The movie in-jokes, especially the references to MEN IN BLACK and E.T. are sometimes hysterical and impeccable. This is INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS made as an episode of "The Wonder Years." Plenty of comic quips lighten the film's tone. However, considering the fact that this screenplay was written by Kevin Williamson, it lacks the sardonic, mordant edge of most of his other works. Williamson's screenplay attempts to be satirical, but it is quite dull.
Ultimately, THE FACULTY is a mildly entertaining and forbearing venture, but not much more than that. Splatter-happy fans of over-the-top, chaotic features will probably enjoy this one, even if it is only for cheap thrills. Teenagers will love it too, but true horror fans will not get their bang for the buck. A less than polished pace, a trite plot, and weakly executed action debilitate what could have been a cheesy classic. THE FACULTY is overall, an adequate thriller. The soundtrack is great too.
In conclusion, I was left discontented by this film's denouncement. I just wanted to see more action, more special FX...and more excitement.
Review by David Choi from the Internet Movie Database.