This self-referential SF horror story (1998) is the best thing yet from Kevin Williamson, writer of the Scream movies and creator of TV's Dawson's Creek. It stumbles only when the characters overindulge in Williamson's signature shtick—discussions about the cinematic or literary precedents for their dilemmas. Here high schoolers debate the merits of stories about aliens taking over the planet, engaging in arguments that occasionally deteriorate into opportunities for a self-congratulating writer to craft savvy banter for a self-congratulating audience. But even if you wouldn't wax as eloquent about Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Puppet Masters, or the work of Roland Emmerich as some of The Faculty's characters do, you may appreciate the often graceful acknowledgments. Robert Rodriguez's unironic directing brings out the complexity of characters painfully aware of the stereotypes they represent and allows this gripping, scary, and romantic movie to offer more than factoids about other movies the filmmakers have seen too many times.