Casey Connor - Elijah Wood
Zeke - Josh Hartnett
Marybeth - Laura Harris
Delilah Profitt - Jordana Brewster
Stokely - Clea DuVall
Stan - Shawn Hatosy
Coach Willis - Robert
Principal Drake - Bebe Neuwirth
Mrs. Olson - Piper Laurie
Mr Furlong - Jon Stewart
Miss Drake - Famke Janssen
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Teachers: Kevin Williamson
When we were growing up, most of us suspected that there wasn't something right about certain teachers of ours. Some of us, with wilder imaginations, even dreamed they were aliens, planted here to fill our minds with useless information, and then transport back from whence they came. I still question the origin of my first grade teacher who still has my Fantastic Four comic book, by the way (just kidding Mrs. Mason).
Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Williamson must have had similar childhoods because The Faculty appears to be the product of most of our youthful paranoid fantasies. It is an intentionally simplistic, predictable, but guiltily enjoyable look into the darker side of teen angst.
Other attempts have been made recently at this genre, most notably the blink-and-miss-it bore fest Disturbing Behavior, which made a feeble try, but unfortunately took itself too seriously and never really grabbed my interest like this one did. The Faculty is the movie that DB wanted to be. It's better paced (although a tad too long), and just seems to be a "funner" experience for all involved.
The recipe for this story seems to be fairly simple. Mix together three parts Invasion of The Body Snatchers, two parts Puppet Masters, one part Stepford Wives, add a dash of Pink Floyd for modern flavor, and a touch of Evil Dead for spice, and you have it. Students suspect that their teachers have been infested by something from another world, and that they may be plotting further colonization. So of course, it's their mission to stop them. Williamson and Rodriguez learned that you don't need a complex, or even original plot to make the movie entertaining. Just do it well and have fun doing it.
Each actor is playing a character that has already been written and defined in previous movies. The actors are basically just recreating them, as in a stage play. Amongst the teachers, the stand out is Patrick, playing his best role since Terminator 2. He seems to have regained that calm soothing wickedness that had been lost on several throwaway roles since T2. The remainder arent really developed much, given introductions, transformations, and then shuttled off. Hayek and Stewart get brief glimpses, Janssen gets to vamp it up a bit more, and Lauries character may explain why Carries mother was indeed so evil.
The students are basically a darker version of the Breakfast Club. They all seem to be in on the joke, that it is more fun than serious and it shows. None of them stand out, but rather each fills a specific slot. Having the most fun it seems is Josh Hartnett (H20) as the brilliant drug-pushing slacker, who always has an angle, the rest is a Hughes-esque style ensemble of nerd (Wood), jock (Hatosy), cheerleader (Brewster) and shy newcomer (Harris) that all fit their roles well.
This isn't really a movie where you over analyze performances, plot points, etc. Its been done before, its being done again. It plays as a shameless rip-off that comes off as more of a tribute than plagiarism. It never hides the fact that this has been done before. In fact, his characters even pay homage to such, showing that Rodriguez and Williamson are also in on the joke.
If you want to think and
analyze, this is the wrong movie. Check your brain at the door, sit back, and enjoy the
campy fun of The Faculty. ($1/2 of $$$$)