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R: ARCHIVE, S: MOVIES, D: 12/31/1998,

The Faculty

How long will screenwriter Kevin Williamson be allowed to perpetuate his smug charade as the tongue-in-cheek hipster who transformed the B-grade slasher flick into an art form and box-office money-making machine? Sure, his genre-deconstructing horror spoof, Scream, was an entertainingly effective exercise, but then came the wave of exhausted sequels (any T&A gorefest with a Party of Five cast member in it) and insipid knockoffs (Urban Legend and Disturbing Behavior), fueled only by the sexy star power of their du jour idols.

Williamson's latest, The Faculty, submerges his plagiaristic, teen-age wannabe tendencies to new lows. Here he essentially plugs The Breakfast Club into Invasion of the Body Snatchers and lays an alien invasion at 90210 High. The film (whose title is misleading; it's not just teachers versus students) is replete with sexy, good-looking actors (Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall, Josh Hartnett, and Shawn Hatosy, poised to be the next Jennifer Love Hewitts and Skeet Ulrichs, along with the bright-eyed Elijah Wood). Famke Janssen and Robert Patrick have good fun as infected faculty members, but by the time the alien reveals itself as some goofy squid-like concoction from Leviathan or Deep Star Six, you'll have long since realized that Williamson's take-it-apart-and-put-it-back-together stitchmanship has become an arduous borefest.

-- Tom Meek