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The Faculty Takes Charge
A review of The Faculty
by J. D. Rummel

Just as the Scream films reflect screenwriter Kevin Williamson's affection for the slasher genre, The Faculty attempts to, and for the most part succeeds in doing the same for alien invasion flicks.

Director: Robert Rodriquez

Stars: Piper Laurie, Robert Patrick, Elijah Wood, Bebe Neuwirth, Famke Janssen, Salma Hayek, Clea Duvall

Rating: R

Release: 12-25-1998

Time: 104 minutes

Buy Movie at Amazon.com The film opens refreshingly, introducing the viewer to the students who will be our protagonists. They are the usual complement of high school social stratum dwellers: the Nerd, the Popular girl, the Jock, the Brilliant Under Achiever, the Outcast and the New Girl In Town. As the story develops, teachers begin behaving differently, and consuming lots of water. After a time, the nerd (Elijah Wood) and the cheerleader (the MMMR three alarm, Jordana Brewster), get to witness some truly not-of-this-earth goings-on, which leads them to conclude that aliens have taken over the school. Think, The Breakfast Club meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Now, the race is on to try to prevent the ET's from taking over the entire world. The kids discover that the diuretic base in Brilliant Under Achiever's dope can dehydrate the water-based interstellar parasites. Never mind that the kids undertake the mission based solely on the Outcast's knowledge of 50's science fiction. The ride is a fun one and well worth the price of admission. This movie offers enough fun that you shut down your brain without shame.

Director Robert Rodriguez (Dawn ‘til Dusk, El Mariachi) creates a frenetic pace and sustains considerable tension without the usual startle camera work that many directors seem to be mistaking for legitimate suspense.