Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Faculty (1998) Review:

Every high school has its issues. Whether it is misbehaved youth, poor budgeting management, inadequate staff or out of date supplies, there's always something that needs work. Interestingly enough, most students would likely say that it's their teachers that make their time feel like a waste. Sometimes this is true, while other times teachers are used as scapegoats for another person's problems. But what if the teachers were the problem and their intent was much more serious than one would expect? This is what happens when a random cluster of students at an ordinary high school discover that their teachers aren’t what they appear to be.

The unlikely group of schoolmates that bicker frequently
Directing this movie is Robert Rodriguez who has a story in the genre of horror for the second time - before that was From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Accompanying Rodriguez is writer Kevin Williamson who also wrote for Scream (1996) and the rest of its later sequels. The strange thing is, much of the material Williamson uses is blatantly taken from other movies. Yet he does it in a way that at least credits them and somewhat morphs it into his own without coming off as complete copy. For example, there are some conversations that discuss the previous "Invasion of the Body Snatcher" films. The leads even come up with a test to determine who is real and who isn't, just like John Carpenter's The Thing (1982). Again, it's not new, but it at least aims to entertain with a slightly different angle.

The cast contains various new and old actors. Some of which the new actors would become highly regarded in the current day. Playing some of the faculty, you have Robert Patrick, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen and even Jon Stewart. The young actors include Jordana Brewster as the uptight prissy girl, Clea DuVall as antisocial introvert, Laura Harris as the newcomer to the school, Josh Hartnett as the stayback senior, Shawn Hatosy as the Jock, Usher as his best jock friend and Elijah Wood as the bookworm. All of them portray their characters accurately considering they all look like highschoolers. Perhaps the most interesting character is Shawn Hatosy for playing a jock that decides that grades are more important than sports. That's rare for an athlete. Other than that, these characters are fun to watch but none of them stand out enough to be truly memorable.

John Stewart,...just one of the faculty
The creature itself in this movie isn't memorable either. However, in spite of that, its presence is still not to be missed. To explain it, it basically is like trying to explain what John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) looked like; you can't. It's a thing. Considering this movie partially exists in the horror genre the gore is respectable. Some of the gore moments are a little unpredictable but most are cliche because of them being taken from other films. For the most part, the CGI is convincing enough to get by even though there are some moments where it looks dated too. Helping to enhance the experience of horror is composer Marco Beltrami's score and unfortunately, it's not his best work. His music can be heard when it comes to the scares, but he missed a lot of emotional cues that could've been used. Oh well, it's still fun though.

Its concept is not new but it has moments that make it different from past films with a decent cast and special effects. Its music could've been a little better though.

Points Earned --> 7:10

No comments:

Post a Comment