The Faculty (15)

Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Starring Elijah Wood, Clea Duvall, Josh Harnett, Bebe Neuwrith, Robert Patrick

Written by flavour of the month Kevin Williamson of Scream fame, this is an update of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but directed with panache by Rodriguez and well acted by the young cast.

Elijah Wood and his young pals realise that the staff of their high school are in fact aliens trying to take them over and turn them all into their slaves. Of course no one will believe them, and they must try and work out how to defeat them and save themselves and the world!

It seems like half the movies released these days are set in US high schools, and once again we have the recognisable characters. The jock, the cheerleader, the geek, the misfits etc etc. Similarly, the teachers included half mad football coach Robert Patrick - who can ever trust him since Terminator 2! Rather disappointingly, spirited principal Bebe Neuwrith is soon captured by the aliens and becomes one of them. Shame as she is always worth watching.

The best part of the film is the first half as the tension builds and there is some doubt over whether the kids are merely paranoid or whether there really is an invasion. Once we get to the kids vs monsters, it is fairly conventional, run and chase stuff, although quite well done. As is essential these days, a witty and sharp script accompanies the cute and pretty young stars. However it is all played fairly straight, without the expected irony that such a highly ridiculous sounding plot could have had. Still, pretty good fun. 6/10

April 1999.

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