The Faculty

1998

The Faculty

Critics Consensus

Rip-off of other sci-fi thrillers.

53%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 51

55%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 186,726
User image

Watch it now

The Faculty Photos

Movie Info

Like so many schools today, Herrington High has passed its prime. Its walls are grimy, its textbooks outdated, its teachers burned out. Yet its corridors are packed with the future of America - loners, leaders, hipsters, nerds, brains and jocks. Like teenagers everywhere, they struggle with parents who don't get it, teachers who never had it and hormones that won't quit. But the students at Herrington High face a greater challenge - saving the world from alien domination.

Cast

Clea DuVall
as Stokely
Laura Harris
as Marybeth
Salma Hayek
as Nurse Harper
Famke Janssen
as Miss Burke
Piper Laurie
as Mrs. Olson
Bebe Neuwirth
as Principal Drake
Robert Patrick
as Coach Willis
Jon Stewart
as Mr. Furlong
Summer Phoenix
as F*%# You Girl
Jon Abrahams
as F*%# You Boy
Susan Willis
as Mrs. Brummel
Danny Masterson
as F*%# Up No. 1
Wiley Wiggins
as F*%# Up No. 2
Harry Knowles
as Mr. Knowles
Louis Black
as Mr. Lewis
Eric Jungmann
as Freshman No. 1
Chris Viteychuk
as Freshman No. 2
Jim Johnston
as P.E. Teacher
Libby Villari
as Casey's Mom
Duane Martin
as Officer No. 1
Katherine Willis
as Officer No. 2
Mike Lutz
as Hornet Mascot
View All

News & Interviews for The Faculty

Critic Reviews for The Faculty

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (27) | Rotten (24)

Audience Reviews for The Faculty

  • Mar 24, 2017
    People who love classic works of literature often take a very puritanical view towards adaptations which update the setting, change the language, or otherwise make them more teen-friendly. They hold that the likes of Shakespeare, Dickens and Austen hold up without having to make concessions for more modern forms of speech and custom, and that repositioning them for adolescents doesn't so much pull in a new audience as provide them with an easy excuse for never reading the books in the first place. While many people will watch a period drama without ever reading the book on which it may be based, the opposite view holds just as much water. When done properly, modern, teen-friendly takes on classic stories can demonstrate just how hardy and universally appreciated these tales can be - and in the late-1990s and early-2000s, there were plenty of examples from which to choose. Jane Austen fans had Clueless (based on Emma), Shakespeare fans had Get Over It (A Midsummer Night's Dream), and fans of sex and vengeance had Cruel Intentions (Dangerous Liaisons). And then there's The Faculty which, while far from perfect, demonstrates the lingering influence on our culture of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. There's certainly an argument for making a late-1990s version of 'Body Snatchers, given the large number of adaptations which have preceded it. The original film, directed by Don Siegel, was a classic 1950s B-movie which reflected McCarthy-era fears in America of communist infiltration, with the pod people standing in for 'reds under the bed'. In the late-1970s, Philip Kaufman's terrifying remake satirised the 'me' generation and post-Watergate paranoia, with an ending which is still one of the scariest and bleakest in 1970s cinema. The 1980s and 1990s saw two different, sideways takes on the story, namely John Carpenter's They Live and Abel Ferrara's Body Snatchers. While primarily based on the short story Eight O'Clock in the Morning, They Live has 'Body Snatchers running right through it, using it to send up consumerism, advertising and the kind of anti-intellectualism that the likes of Neil Postman and Aldous Huxley had warned about. Ferrara's 'Body Snatchers, which came hot on the heels of Bad Lieutenant, pared the story down and confined its setting to an army base to make a point about social conformity and a loss of purpose for America after the Cold War had ended. The Faculty has a lot of John Carpenter running through it, reflecting the premise in They Live of ordinary people finding out that the powers-that-be have been supplanted, but substituting construction workers for high school students. It attempts, and largely succeeds, in using the different cliques in high school as a vector for paranoia; people who would never normally socialise are forced to work together, with each one being asked to trust people who would naturally withhold information from everyone who isn't in their friendship circles. The main point of reference, however, is Carpenter's remake of The Thing, with the pens filled with drugs standing in rather creatively for the petri dishes full of blood. The Faculty doesn't have the same unrelenting claustophobia that The Thing possessed - high school is, despite what some may feel, less oppressive than the Antarctic. Its ending is also more predictably upbeat - but that's not hard, given how cold and nihlistic The Thing's final scene was. But the film follows all the main beats of Carpenter's film quite nicely, keeping as much suspense as it can while still being more of a crowd-pleaser than a fully-fledged shocker. Taken as an adaptation of 'Body Snatchers - with bits of The Stepford Wives thrown in here and there - The Faculty works rather well, transliterating all the major plot developments and character arcs within a conventional but believable setting. The CGI is less overtly scary than Rob Bottin's groundbreaking effects from The Thing, but until the final showdown with the queen the effects are well-rendered and have a logical physicality to them. Some of the twists are well-executed and surprising, others make sense but are telegraphed to the audience; you won't shrink into your seat in terror like in the Kaufman version, but there's plenty of little jumps here and there. Where the film starts to falter is in its desire to be somewhat self-aware. While the script had been kicking around Hollywood since 1990, it wasn't put into production until the success of Scream, with Bob and Harvey Weinstein bringing in Ghostface creator Kevin Williamson to do rewrites. The film does have a post-modern quality to it, with characters making quips about touchstones of the genre, and this desire to be snarky and slightly above the material often works against the need to create a creepy, unrelenting atmosphere. The film is also firmly in the shadow of The X Files, which was hitting its peak around this time - it even shares the same typeface as the show's title sequence. Despite the rich heritage of 'Body Snatchers, the film occasionally has the scale and feel of a TV episode; you almost expect Mulder and Scully to turn up any minute and take over the investigation (like the FBI so often does in stories like this). Robert Rodriguez - who was very much a gun for hire on this film - wrings the most he can out of the set-up and the potential for splatter, but it's still a modest, little offering. Because it's so rooted in the high school sub-genre, The Faculty is also guilty of making too many concessions to generic convention. A pre-Lord of the Rings Elijah Wood puts in a good performance here, but since he survives up to the halfway point, it quickly becomes certain that he will still be alive at the end - the legacy of Revenge of the Nerds as much as 'final girl' horror scenarios. Equally, the whole sexy teacher routine that Famke Janssen puts on is made just about credible by her knowingly ripe performance, but it's also a lazy bit of writing designed to pander to the target audience (albeit less lazy than Liz Hurley's similar get-up in the Bedazzled remake). Aside from Wood and Janssen, the other performances in The Faculty are a complete mixed bag. Josh Hartnett is a convincing and likeable screen presence, which makes it all the more perplexing why his career didn't continue on its upward path after 40 Days and 40 Nights. Laura Harris - who had a small part in the It TV miniseries - is also enjoyable as Marybeth, managing to maintain her dignity in the locker room scene even with the gratuitous nudity. Otherwise, Robert Patrick and Selma Hayak are playing completely to type, and there's a needless but thankfully brief cameo from Harry Knowles, founder of Ain't It Cool News. The Faculty is an enjoyable and entertaining take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers which makes up for its many faults through some good performances and largely decent special effects. It's hardly the most original or best executed take on the story, and its efforts to cash in on the success of Scream are seldom to its advantage. But taken on its own, as either a bunch of horror references or a high school drama with a difference, it's hard to pass up.
    Daniel M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2016
    I honestly don't even know why I was compelled to watch this. I talked yesterday about the cheeseball 80s horror films, so I felt it was time to give the 90s a shot. And this had to be post-Scream, because 90s horror movies, prior to Scream, was probably THE worst decade for horror movies in general. I don't think there's any doubt about that. And it's not even like the entire decade was elevated, I still think it's probably the worst possible decade for horror in history. Not saying that there weren't good movies, of course, just that there wasn't as much high quality films being put out as in other decades. This is one of those films that would benefit from quarter ratings because this is what I would call better than average, but I wouldn't call it good. With that said, this movie holds up surprisingly well all things considered. It's obviously influenced by Scream, setting-wise at least, which shouldn't surprise anyone as it was written by Kevin Williamson, also the writer for three of the four Scream movies. The fact is that the movie, obviously, borrows heavily from Invasion of the Body Snatchers (and its book, which is in turn a "rip-off" of The Puppet Masters) and there's also elements of The Thing here as well, in that the teens eventually start to become mistrustful of one another and there's the paranoia that goes along with that. But, honestly, and I'm not even saying this was anything more than a cheeseball 90s horror flick, they do get a lot of entertaining moments out of this concept. Can I put one moment out that, specifically, would fit that description? No, not really. But it's really a culmination of a variety of different scenes that add up to an somewhat entertaining genre diversion. It's not a great movie, for sure, and I don't blame anyone for holding this film's influences against it. What I mean by that is the fact that this wouldn't exist, in its current form, without the films I previously mentioned. Because of that, some might call this a rip-off. I wouldn't go that far, but I can see how people might see it that way. The similarities are obvious, and they even reference the films/books in question, but I don't think it's as shameless as some might suggest. I feel that it's more of a loving tribute to those films as opposed to simply ripping off their concept. And I say this because Robert Rodriguez directed this movie and he's one of those filmmakers that loves to play tributes to the classics. Though this movie doesn't have as much of a Rodriguez touch as, say, Machete. If you weren't told that this was a Robert Rodriguez movie, you wouldn't have known it. I feel that if they had given Rodriguez more freedom to make the movie his own, the fact that it's a loving tribute would have been more obvious. As it stands, again, it's not a great movie by any means. It's not even what I would call good, but I found myself entertained by this. It borrows heavily from the classics, but that shouldn't dissuade you from giving this a shot. The ending isn't great, though, where everything is solved as if nothing had actually happened. They just waved their little wand and made everything go away. Which is always a cheap ending to me, no matter how you slice it, so that definitely took away from it. There should always, to me, being some sort of consequence to everything that happened and there's no such thing to speak of in this movie. It didn't even have to be something major, but the principal was killed and they don't even make mention of it after the queen parasite is killed. Ah well, it is what it is, but it worked against it. I had a fun enough time with this in spite of it all, though it's still nothing more than a better than average film.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 31, 2016
    Really enjoyed this, kind of lame and cliched but in a deliberate way. But very interesting. And holy shit does this movie have a great cast!!
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Apr 17, 2015
    Totally underrated, prime late 90s Sci-Fi/Horror/Comedy with an incredible cast that has somehow managed to stay under the radar even now, twenty years later on. The Faculty is one of those movies I make everybody watch.
    Gimly M Super Reviewer

The Faculty Quotes

News & Features