Ah yes, we’re back with one of the best categories: guilty pleasures. One simply cannot have enough of those. Ingrid already wrote about The Phantom of the Opera. And I shared my number one guilty pleasure with you: Deep Blue Sea; as well as my favorite guilty genre: disaster movies. And since there’s plenty more to go around, let’s discuss another epic film: Robert Rodriguez’ The Faculty. It has everything a great movie needs.
A great cast (of characters)
Both the actors and the characters they play are just the best. There are two groups in The Faculty: the high school students and their teachers. The Faculty basically launched the career of Josh Hartnett, Clea DuVall, Laura Harris and Shawn Hatosy. And of course, there are Usher, who was already a famous R&B star at the time (and tried his luck in acting as so many musicians do) and Elijah Wood. Wood at the time was mostly a well known child/teen actor but he was set to propel into stardom by starring as Frodo in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the rest is history. The adults have some bigger names: Famke Janssen, Piper Laurie, Salma Hayek, Jon Stewart and Robert Patrick.
The characters, and mostly the teen-characters, are very memorable. As high school films go, each of these characters is a certain stereotype. There’s the nerd, the weirdo, the drugdealer, the star quarterback, the pretty girl, the newbie. But the screenwriters and director Robert Rodriguez know what they’re doing with them, and here’s something that hardly ever happens in teen horror flicks: character development. The star quarterback has issues with his position, the pretty girl has more up her sleeve than just being pretty and the drug dealer is actually very smart. A round of applause for how this film is more than the genre and actually delves deeper into each main character.
The plot is surprising
You can watch guilty pleasures again and again and again. And even though I now know ‘who did it’, the Faculty is still a great film I could watch on repeat. The first time I saw it though, I was genuinely surprised. Nothing in this film goes how you think it’ll go. One of the best bits is when the gang finds out they basically can’t trust anybody and they have to take Zeke’s drugs to find out if anyone of them is infected. I love how this is one of those psychological horrorfilms where you never know who is an alien and who isn’t. My favorite other films of this genre are The Thing and Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the 1978 version with Donald Sutherland. Still gives me the creeps).
Another great thing about the Faculty is the high pace. There’s never a dull moment in this film. It starts of with a bang; that chilling scene with principal Drake and coach Willis. From there, it never loses it’s pace or tension. Although admittedly, the finale (with the motherforking huge alien) is a bit much. Still though, those are some epic scenes which had me at the edge of my seat. The Faculty never gets scary, it’s not one of those horrorfilms. It’s more in the line of Scream, with a focus on plot, characters and dialogue.
The Faculty: guaranteed to jack you up
This is my favorite line from the film, from my favorite character. I still think Zeke is one of the best characters ever in a highschooldramahorrorcomingofage film. Oh, and do you remember how each character was introduced? That was just the best. It’s very 90’s, and I don’t think it’ll be done again anytime soon. But I really loved how the film paused at each main character and had their name in big red letters on the screen. It’s a great way to introduce each character very fast without a lot of exposition.
I haven’t heard a lot of buzz about it lately and it seems this is one of those films that’s maybe going to be forgotten. And that’s a shame. So, when you have some spare time, go and see The Faculty. There are amazing characters, there’s some terrific acting. The script is amazing, the soundtrack is incredible and the director is so very cool. If you haven’t yet seen it, it will surprise you. If you haven’t seen it in a while, like me, it’ll take you back and give you all those pleasant memories again.