Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Faculty

Description from Netflix:
Many teens think their teachers hail from another planet -- but what if it's true?  Herrington High students notice that faculty member aren't quite themselves, and discover an alien infection they might not be able to stop.

Notable actors: Josh Harnett, Elijah Wood, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Robert Patrick, Jon Stewart, Usher Raymond, Christopher McDonald, Piper Laurie, Bebe Neuwirth, Danny Masterson

I had no idea this was directed by Robert Rodriguez.

My thoughts:
Scream famously helped to usher in an era of self-aware horror movies.  The Faculty came out a couple years later, and it obviously took that theme and ran with it, with a slight difference.  Where Scream had Randy - a movie nerd who made the majority of the references/listed the rules - The Faculty had references coming from a number of the characters.  Here is a list of movies that were referenced:
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Independence Day
Men in Black

I'm sure there were more, but I can't remember them all.

There is also a conversation where they pose the idea that all fiction is rooted in reality.  That perhaps Steven Spielberg was actually an alien, which is how he came up with the ideas for E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
None of these references seemed forced, and I never felt like there were too many of them.  Too often I see movies where the characters don't seem to live in the same world that we do.  Or they don't have access to the same movies.  Or something.  (I have this problem with the majority of zombie movies, but that's a much longer post for another time.)  As long as it's not cheesy, I like the references to other movies.  And I think this one did a good job with them.

To me, this had elements of a lot of movies, all mashed into one.  The most obvious ones were:
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (naturally)
The Thing (the scene when they make everyone snort Zeke's caffeine concoction to see if they're infected or not felt exactly like the scene where they test everyone's blood in The Thing.)
The Breakfast Club (it was impossible to see the ragtag group of survivors and not think about The Breakfast Club.  Zeke was Bender, Stokes was Allison, Casey was Brian, Marybeth was Claire, etc.  I don't know if this was intentional, but it seemed like it was impossible to miss.)

I hadn't seen this movie since shortly after its release.  I remember enjoying it fairly well, but I didn't remember too much about it.  After watching it this time around, I really enjoyed it.  It felt a little dated at times, but it was a really fun movie.

Rating: 4/5

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