Film: Videowatch

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The Independent Culture
The Faculty (15),

to rent

A TYPICALLY smart script from Scream's Kevin Williamson propels this above-average teen horror flick. The teaching faculty of Herrington High are as removed from their pupils as you might expect given the dilapidation of the school. But one kid learns that something nastier than mutual antipathy lurks in the classrooms - the teachers have been taken over by parasitic aliens.

Director Robert Rodriguez ( of El Mariachi fame) has fun with the potency of Williamson's conceit. How better to explain the brutality of the sports master, for instance, that traditional figure of institutional cruelty? Also Williamson, as ever, takes great joy in upending horror conventions: indiscriminate of billing, the young cast fall one by one to the parasites, and certainly none of the teachers, no matter how friendly, is to be trusted.

As such, the film taps into the fears of any teenager who's suspicious of authority figures, and packages it shrewdly in the genre that teenagers know best.

Ultimately, however, The Faculty fails to push the intelligence of its own premise far enough.

Mike Higgins