The Faculty

by

comment

"What I want to do with the science-fiction genre," screenwriter Kevin Williamson confesses, " is the same thing as Scream. I want to attack every single genre. That’s my goal in life." Intelligent and entertaining in Scream and Scream 2 — both scripted by Williamson — the attack is, however, disturbingly juvenile in The Faculty.

Not that we have anything against genre-benders: On the contrary, if The Faculty looked even remotely like a promising failure, we’d be the first to applaud the courageous craft of Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, From Dusk Till Dawn). But as The Breakfast Club meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers in the presence of The Puppetmaster and Scream, the humorous and the horrific cancel each other out, draining The Faculty of any real excitement.

The Supercool Kid who turns the trunk of his car into a convenience store (Josh Harnett); the star quarterback (Shawn Hatosy) who dates the head cheerleader (Jordana Brewster); the brainy loner (Clea Duvall) who keeps everyone as far away as possible with her looks straight out of The Craft; the shy newcomer (Laura Harris) and the unlikely hero (Elijah Wood) discover, one bright morning, that their high school has been taken over by aliens. Indeed, the principal (Bebe Neuwirth), the pedagogically challenged English teacher (Famke Janssen), the seasoned drama instructor (Piper Laurie), the laid-back biology teacher (Jon Stewart), the formidable coach (Robert Patrick) and the burned-out history professor (Daniel Von Bargen) are creatures from another planet set on bringing their students across to their own dehydrated species. (An amusing detail: Like our health-crazed peers, the aliens consume large quantities of water.)

And, yes, from time to time we do catch a glimpse of Rodriguez’s cool, creeping shots, his haunting close-ups, his acute sense of rhythm. And, yes, as "an educator at a university," the reviewer has developed a certain understanding for episodes of pathological behavior resulting in the annihilation of the student body — especially at the end of the semester.

But The Faculty needs more than that to succeed, even if — as we are constantly reminded — it is only a film.

Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.