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31 Days of Terror: The Faculty (1998)

31 Days of Terror: The Faculty (1998)

I think most would sum The Faculty up as The Breakfast Club meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which is exactly what it is and it's just as fun as you'd think it would be.

When an alien parasite begins to take over the teachers of a local high school, it's up to the geek, the jock, the goth, the new girl, the drug dealer, and the cheerleader to save the day and eradicate the menace from our planet.

While not originally drafted (only rewritten and adapted for the screen) by Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson, The Faculty has his fingerprints all over it with its meta commentary and deconstruction of the Science Fiction and Horror genres as well as numerous pop culture references. It really plays around with ideas we've all come to know and love of those genres but doesn't really push the bar the same way that Scream did in 1996 or what Cabin in The Woods would do in 2012.

The characters are exactly the caricatures I described them as in the summary but each have their own quirks and characteristics, subtly revealed throughout the movie, very much like The Breakfast Club. The cast is fantastic and exemplary of Robert Rodriguez's connections in Hollywood.  Elijah Wood, Jordana Brewster, Salma Hayek, Jon Stewart, Robert Patrick, Famke Jansen, Josh Hartnett, and the list goes on and on. When I originally saw this film, I only knew Elijah Wood as the kid from Flipper and The Good Son but he really shines here as the unexpected hero and The Faculty serves as yet another stepping stone on his journey to immortality as Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. Robert Patrick is just as cold and calculating as he was in Terminator 2, as the T-1000, and has a lot of fun with the role of Coach Willis. Everyone in this film is fun to watch.

Robert Rodriguez directed The Faculty but there's barely anything here that resembles his past work; it inherently feels more like a John Landis or John Hughes film. Dark humor is laden throughout and the action sequences are pretty tame compared to Rodriguez's Desperado and From Dusk Til Dawn. And of course, Rodriguez would diverge even further from a dark and violent style by creating the Spy Kids franchise several years later.

The effects are decent and still hold up to some degree. There aren't many moments that stand out except for maybe Famke Jansen's body looking for her head, which is crawling around like a spider, while Josh Harnett looks on in horror and says "Fuck this, I'm outta here." This scene is very reminiscent of John Carpenter's The Thing and hilarious because it's a rational thought anyone would have in that situation; however, the dated CGI legs for the head detract from the scene a little bit. If anything still holds up, it's the practical effects for the alien queen. The design is unique and when in use, she looks incredible.

The Faculty, while not a great movie, is a fun movie and has a lot of unique ideas that could have been further explored in maybe a TV series. Without Kevin Williamson's touch-ups who knows what the film would have become but if you're looking for a fun tongue-in-cheek thriller with a great cast, look no further.

Trailer - 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales'

Trailer - 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales'

Synopsis Released for 'War of the Planet of the Apes'

Synopsis Released for 'War of the Planet of the Apes'