Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Faculty (1998)

Needing a palate cleanser after Invasion of the Pod People, I decided to fire up a good "Body Snatchers-esque" film.  You didn't get the review right away since it is a DVD I have seen before.  But now Saturday has rolled around, and I can tell you that The Faculty is great fun.

This Robert Rodriguez-helmed film has a crazy good cast.  Don't take my word for it: go look at the IMDB page and goggle.  Coupled with a smart and genre-savvy script from Scream scribe Kevin Williamson, the film's an entertaining romp.

Herrington High is your typical movie high school.  Jocks rule the roost and the teachers are a dysfunctional and disillusioned group on the whole.  Things are about to change, however.  As they do when an insidious alien parasite is taking over everyone in a position of power.

Stumbling into this overworldly menace come six high school students: most are outcasts or misfits, ranging from persecuted nerd Casey to rebel without a cause Zeke and new student Marybeth Louise Hutchinson (never just 'Marybeth').

One of the things I like about the film is that the characters' actions feel relatively plausible given the crazy situation they find themselves in.  They try to enlist help, acknowledge the parallels with popular media (including Invasion of the Body Snatchers itself), and act to protect themselves as best they can in the circumstances.  They mess up from time to time, but never in a way that makes you scream with frustration at how stupid they are (which is definitely a welcome change from Invasion of the Pod People, where the protagonist was criminally stupid).

If you enjoy a bit of science fiction with mild horror themes, and are young enough to remember the feelings of isolation and disassociation that are common among teenagers, then you should check this out: it's a smart and clever little film.

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