The Faculty (1998)

Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Written by Kevin Williamson, based on a story by David Wechter & Bruce Kimmel
Starring Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Gabriel Byrne, Regina King

My Advice: Wait for MST3K.

The latest in a long line of lamentable Gen X horror films is brought to you by the pen of Kevin Williamson, who offers up more hard evidence that the cleverness of the first Scream film was either a fluke or just someone else's script.

The synopsis is as follows: aquatic squid-like slugs have taken over the faculty of a high school in Ohio, they're working on the students next, and all the stands in the way is six outcast students.  Rrright.  What could have been an interesting update of Body Snatchers for the teen crowd becomes a very bland Robert A. Heinlein's The Breakfast Club.  The attempts at showing student life are tedious and uninteresting, and substitute vast amounts of swearing for actual character development.  The few good bits of dialogue are few and far between.  Also, things happen for no apparent reason.  For example, see if you can determine when the term "Master" was conveniently replaced by "Queen" when referring to the leader of the aliens.  Beep!  Trick question--You can't. 

Although it's nice to see Elijah Wood actually have some semblance of a character to work with, unlike this summer's Deep Impact, he's overshadowed by Josh Hartnett's troubled boy genius Zeke.  Zeke may be an asshole, but at least he's an interesting asshole.  Robert Patrick makes the most of a morphing character again.  Harry Knowles also does fairly well in his screen debut as a random teacher, delivering his three or so lines from off camera.  The rest of the characters are quite forgettable, as I can't even remember their names, despite the nifty Gerald Scarfe-ripoff captions to identify them at the beginning.  Couple all of this mess with a pat and quite unsatisfying ending, and you've got an eminently tragic waste of the moviegoing public's time.

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