(1998)3Keith PhippsEssentially an attempt to do for the science-fiction/thriller genre what the author had done for the slasher film with 1996's Scream, Kevin Williamson's The Faculty raised the question of where to draw the line between homage and theft. Lifting its plot directly from Jack Finney's The Body Snatchers and the films it inspired, The Faculty ostensibly gets itself off the hook by mentioning Finney's story in the film itself. Was it post-modernism or plagiarism? Regardless, with The Faculty, Williamson and director Robert Rodriguez craft a tight, suspenseful, consistently entertaining (up to a ludicrous finale), and subversive thriller. It's this last quality that most reviews at the time seemed to overlook. The Body Snatchers formula makes a natural fit for the film's conformity-mad high school setting and Williamson and Rodriguez make the most of pitting a band of outsiders, however photogenic and stylishly clad, against the personality-sapping forces of evil. Buried within you'll also find a not-particularly-subtle pro-drug message, an unusually unwholesome element which is at least at odds with the squeaky-clean images of high school put forth by the era's wave of teen films (She's All That, et al.).