Horror is subjective. Because of this, it is a genre that tends to have a wide gap between audience and critical reception, especially in earlier decades where horror movies were looked down upon and considered nothing more than cheap fluff. However, even between different groups, horror film ratings can differ dramatically, leading to some audiences adoring films that others utterly hate.
A perfect example of this occurred on Reddit recently when u/shaman_of_ramen went on the /r/horror subreddit and made a post entitled “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong about “The Faculty,” where they sang the praises of a sci-fi horror film they really enjoyed.
The Faculty is a science-fiction horror film from 1998. Directed by Robert Rodriguez, the film is set in a school being taken over by parasitic aliens that turn their hosts into mind-controlled zombies. A group of students works this out and then decide to fight back against the creatures to protect both their school and the entire world from a complete alien takeover.
The film didn’t get fantastic reviews on release, and time hasn’t been kind to it. Today, it has a 55% critic and audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Many reviews say that the film feels like a rip-off of many other ’80s and ’90s sci-fi horror films. However, many people in the thread echo this as a positive, arguing that the film feels so quintessentially ’90s that it becomes charming.
That isn’t to say the film’s appeal is all due to kitsch. In fact, it was praised both at the time and years later for being more than it first seems. Several critics and academics noted the idea of a parasitic body takeover works as a metaphor for teenage alienation. Specifically, the concept of losing yourself to the crowd. Others praised the film’s subversion of regular horror tropes about female sexuality, especially during its last act. These sentiments are echoed by the Reddit thread.
Many also praise the film’s cast, as it contains several people who would become big names in Hollywood. This includes a pre-Daily Show Jon Stewart as Edward Furlong, Elijah Wood as Casey Connor, Salma Hayek as Rosa Harper, Robert Patrick as Joe Willis, and most notably, Usher plays the role of Gabe Santora.
On top of this, the soundtrack also received lots of praise on release. It features several covers by then-popular indie and alternative bands including, Garbage, The Offspring, and Creed. Most notably, the film contains a cover of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall by a band called Class of ’99. This supergroup featured Layne Staley, Tom Morello, Stephen Perkins, Martyn LeNoble, and Matt Serletic. The band was created specifically to perform this cover, making it a piece of alt-rock history.
While The Faculty may not be the most popular or well-reviewed movie in history, it is great to see people sharing their love for a film that often gets overlooked. The reaction in the thread is a fantastic example of the subjective nature of movies. And how, even if a film isn’t perfect, it can resonate and speak to certain groups of people.