The Faculty (review)

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Dumb and Dumber

Waiter, waiter! This food is terrible! And the portions are too small!

That’s kinda the way I feel about The Faculty. It’s another bad, bad, bad installment in Kevin Williamson’s neverending quest to send-up teen horror flicks, and it doesn’t even get all the dumb clichés right. If you can’t expect a teen horror flick to deliver lots of gratuitously naked breasts and kids having gratuitous sex and then getting gratuitously killed, what has this world come to? I mean, really!
There’s a point to The Faculty, I’m sure — at least in Kevin Williamson’s mind, though that point might have been one having more to do with lining his own pockets than anything even remotely artistic — but I couldn’t find it. Unless Williamson — he wrote this piece of junk, by the way — would have us believe that the key to making high-school culture less rancorous and malicious is to have kids thwart an alien invasion. Using illegal drugs as their weapon.

Oh, this is too silly for words: Little parasitic aliens, who desperately need water, and lots of it, to live, decide to take over a high school in landlocked Ohio. Why not Hawaii, which would have at least made for some beautiful locations? Or Florida, if budget is a concern? No. Ohio. So the little critters occupy the bodies of the faculty of Herrington High — you can tell they’ve been taken over because… they drink lots of water. And we also get the spectacle of watching football coach Mr. Willis (Robert Patrick: Cop Land) standing out on the gridiron while the sprinklers are on.

Which brings me to: What the hell is a decent actor like Robert Patrick doing in a waste of celluloid like The Faculty? It gets worse: Bebe Neuwirth (Celebrity) is here as Principal Drake. Piper Laurie(!) and Famke Janssen (Monument Avenue) as teachers. And even Salma Hayek (Wild Wild West, 54) as the school nurse and Jon Stewart as geeky science teach Mr. Furlong don’t deserve this — okay, maybe neither of them are ever gonna win Oscars, but they’re more talented than this. (Ain’t It Cool News‘s Harry Knowles has a cameo here as a teacher, too. I knew it: Knowles is an alien!)

And what interest could aliens possibly have in a high school? The answer is: none. But Kevin Williamson is still stuck there, and I bet he was a dork like Casey (Elijah Wood: Deep Impact, The Ice Storm, who also doesn’t deserve this), who’s the first to cop onto the invasion and is key in repelling it. But he doesn’t do it alone. No: members of all the school’s cliques pull together to get the job done. Geeks, druggies, Goths, dorks, jocks, cheerleaders. Riiiight. And they’re all soooo realistically drawn. Stan (Shawn Hatosy: Outside Providence, The Postman — he deserves to be here), the jock, says “I’m tired of everyone kissing my ass cuz I’m captain of the football team.” As if any jock has ever even thought such a thing. Delilah (Jordana Brewster), the head cheerleader, is also editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. As if that has ever occurred on this planet. Zeke (Josh Hartnett), the drug dealer, is a scientific genius who’s repeating 12th grade. His biggest selling product, by the way, is the only thing that will kill the aliens. Just Say Yes!

And then there’s the Gothy science fiction fan, Stokely (Clea DuVall), who is a good one to have around because the aliens appear to have read every pulpy sci-fi novel and have based their invasion plans around them. So Stokely fortunately can predict their every move. Uh-huh.

There was the promise of some hot lesbian action, too, hinted at early in the movie when two girls get into a wrestling match in the school parking lot over a fender bender for no good reason but for the exploitative value of it. And then Stokely exchanges a hot glance with Marybeth Louise Hutchinson (Laura Harris), the new student at school whom there is never any doubt is also an alien. But does Williamson pay off on this promise? He does not, indeed.

I wished the aliens would just kill all these damn kids — I so desperately want them all to die horrible, nasty deaths. Or maybe the aliens could just come and take Kevin Williamson away. Really, The Faculty is as boring as high school itself.

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