“31 Days of Horror” Day 16: “The Faculty” (1998)
The Faculty Will Now Administer Your FINAL Test…
Who among us hasn’t, at one point or another, wondered if one of our teachers was from outer space? Maybe it was because they were exceptionally mean. Or ridiculously strange. Or seemed as though they were stuck thirty years in the past. Whatever the reason, we’ve all had at least one teacher in our lifetime who struck us as off in some way. For the highschool protagonists of “The Faculty”, however, the problem isn’t one teacher: it’s all of them.
Enter ALL the Highschool Student Tropes
“The Faculty” is a late-nineties horror sci-fi that takes place in Harrington High School in Ohio. Our heroes are a group of very different teenagers who come together out of sheer necessity. Stan (Shawn Hatosy) is the captain of the football team, who has lost his love for sports. Delilah (Jordana Brewster) is the head cheerleader and editor of the school newspaper. Stokely (Clea DuVall) is the school outcast who just wants to be left alone. Marybeth (Laura Harris) is the new girl in town, desperate to make friends. Zeke (Josh Hartnett) is a drug dealer repeating senior year despite being incredibly clever. Finally, Casey (Elijah Wood) is the quiet, bullied kid who is attentive enough to see that something strange is going on.
One of Us…One of Us…
Casey makes a strange discovery on the football field and brings it to Professor Furlong (Jon Stewart), who declares it a new species that thrives in water and self-replicates. On the same day Delilah and Casey (who is the photographer for the school paper) snoop in the faculty lounge, looking for a story, and subsequently find themselves eavesdropping on something terrifying. From a closet they watch as Coach Willis (Robert Patrick) and Mrs Olsen (Piper Laurie) attack Nurse Harper (Salma Hayek) and shove something into her ear. The teens run off to find help, but only find other teachers who seem to be wholly in on whatever is happening. And later, when Casey brings his parents and the police, he only succeeds in getting one of the police officers assimilated into whatever this disturbing situation is.
It is outcast, Stokely, who suggests that the whole thing sounds like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, and to her horror it turns out to be disturbingly close to the truth. The faculty begins assimilating the entire school, student by student, until our six mismatched heroes are all who are left to stop the invasion.
Predictable Doesn’t Mean Unenjoyable
For the most part, “The Faculty” is a standard 90’s horror packed with the teen heartthrobs of the day. (Not gonna lie: Hartnett was another of my admittedly many crushes.) The plot is quite predictable, the outcome fairly obvious, and some of the special effects haven’t aged particularly well. That said, none of these things make it any less of an enjoyable film. The cast is great, the story is fun, and the interactions between the six teenage protagonists are highly amusing. It feels a bit like “The Breakfast Club” with the threat of alien invasion. You may have the entire runtime pegged in your mind before the movie has even really gotten going, but it’s still plenty enjoyable to watch it all play out.
Long story short, this is a fun flick that – if you grew up through the nineties – almost definitely stars at least one of your childhood crushes. Turn your brain off for 104 minutes and enjoy the chaos.
What are you watching for the spooky season? Have you seen “The Faculty“? Let me know your own thoughts and give your own suggestions for horror movie musts in the comments! And don’t forget to check out my other ‘31 Days of Horror‘ movie reviews!
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