The Faculty (1998)

There are few genre movies that are quite as much fun as “The Faculty.” From the opening frames, the movie is pure Kevin Williamson: There’s a large cast of recognizable faces, the dialogue is clever-clever, and the entire movie knows that it’s a genre movie (not unlike Williamson’s “Scream”). The story itself is admittedly derivative, owing its influences to science-fiction classics like “The Puppet Masters” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” but director Robert Rodriguez knows how to craft an exciting, suspenseful and likable genre winner. Among the many famous faces, there are a number of standouts, from Bebe Neuwirth to Robert Patrick to Piper Laurie, but it’s Elijah Wood and Clea DuVall who seem to connect the most to the material. There are some moments here and there that haven’t aged well (including parts of the oversized finale) and the creature effects can be underwhelming at times, but the movie does such a great job in other ways that it’s easy to forgive.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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