Sunday, January 21, 2007

Movie Review: The Faculty 3 ½ Stars

Kevin Williamson followed up his massively successful postpostmodern slasher film franchises Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer with The Faculty, an homage to Fifties sci-fi.

The Faculty was a thoroughly enjoyable sci-fi horror flick that borrows/steals heavily from its alien invasion predecessors Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the forty-five or so Body Snatchers remakes as well as a couple versions of The Thing. However, The Faculty puts a Williamsonian spin on the Pod People and cephalopoid intergalactic parasites by infecting the faculty of an Ohio high school who pave the way for alien invasion. Their insidious plot is thwarted by our heroes, a 1998 version of The Breakfast Club, complete with a princess, jock, brain, loner and rebel plus a new girl thrown in to suggest a possible later lesbian hook-up that never pays off.

Directed by Robert Rodriguez of Desperado, From Dusk Til Dawn, hanging out with Tarentino, and making a movie for $5,000 fame, The Faculty is brought to life by a terrific cast of young actors. Elijah Wood, Clea Duvall, Shawn Wayne Hatosy, Josh Hartnett, Jordana Brewster and Laura Harris portray the Brat Pack who go Sigourney Weaver on the infected faculty, which includes Robert Patrick, Piper Laurie, Jon Stewart, Bebe Neuwirth and Famke Janssen. Apparently, R&B superstar Usher is in the film, but don’t blink or you’ll miss him. In a shameless studio attempt to cash in before his pan flashes, Usher is promoted as a star, even packaged in promotional materials, while Hatosy, a major playa in the film, was only included in later versions of the poster, after astute teenage fans complained.

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