A Unique Love Letter to Youth - 'The Faculty' Review

Updated on January 28, 2019
Sam Shepards profile image

Hi, I'm Sam, I love movies. My main interest is science fiction and zombie movies. Pessimistic and survival films I also enjoy a lot.

In the late 1990s, an almost unrecognizable Robert Rodriguez decided to leave behind his personal gags and made a hybrid between a high-school dramedy and an Invasion of the Body Snatchers homage.

In its release days, The Faculty was widely known for its iconic soundtrack song; an updated and harder version of Pink Floyd's classic "Another Brick In The Wall," this time covered by the "Class of 99" which included members of 90s emblematic bands Rage Against the Machine, Porno for Pyros, Jane's Addiction and Alice In Chains.

That song perfectly explains the cult phenomena that has been created around this film since then. This is both a perfect time capsule of the end of the millennium and a subversive anti-system message.

The Faculty centers on of a group of Ohio high school students who, in addition to dealing with their typical teenage problems, slowly discover that their teachers are being infected and controlled by a grotesque extraterrestrial parasitic species. One of the students, an amateur manufacturer/dealer of recreational ecstasy-like drugs, has unknowingly developed a cure for the infection. His drug immediately exterminates the aliens.

As you can see, the sci-fi horror element is simply a distinct way of delivering the rebellious message. This is a fantastic hate letter to the traditional academy and its conservative squared adult's factory and a emphasized cautionary scream about not losing the impulsiveness of youthful creativity.

The paradoxical thing about this project is the "pro-system" way it was assembled, with the Weinstein brothers producing/controlling everything, hiring and controlling writer Kevin Williamson (Scream, Dawson's Creek) and Robert Rodriguez to try to get a kinda "sci-fi Scream". It's certainly an irony of the industry, that shouldn't diminish The Faculty's design. Youth is also a state of mind and an intention.

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The Faculty is not a movie to be taken too seriously. This is a light film, designed to be enjoyed rather than debated. That's why its strong message and clever allegories are more enjoyable.

The casting is one of those rare ensembles that gain value over time, becoming a deluxe group full of stars who at the peak of their popularity couldn't be together in a project like this. Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, and Usher are the face of youth, representing different urban sub-tribes.

On the adult side, the casting is even more memorable: The villains embodied by Robert Patrick and that amazing feminine enigma called Bebe Neuwirth are fantastic antagonists. In the top of that, we also have Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Piper Laurie and Jon Stewart.

One of the few shortcomings of The Faculty is that for a film that shouts so much about the importance of youthful vitality to the point of praising the use of recreational drugs as the salvation of youth and HUMANITY, its portrayal of sex is "too PG".

Are we being childish when complaining about the impossibility (and absurdity, let's be honest, those characters have to be sexually active) to see Hayek, Hartnett, Janssen or Brewster without clothes? Then we're doing the right thing. The Faculty's message is clear and is one of the best clichés that can be communicated at any time: stay young.

Movie Details

Title: The Faculty

Release Year: 1998

Director(s): Robert Rodriguez

Actors: Josh Hartnett, Salma Hayek, Usher Raymond, Famke Jansen, Elijah Wood a.o.

3 stars for The Faculty

© 2019 Sam Shepards


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