-movie alien flicks are a dime a dozen. B-movie alien flicks that creatively spoof high school fitting in, messy flirting, and transform annoying teachers into inter-galactic body snatchers are positively amiable.
Director Robert Rodriguez’s sci-fi/horror/high school parody delivers with outrageous glee thanks mostly to a charismatic group of students (Josh Hartnett, Elijah Wood, Shawn Hatosy, Jordana Brewster, Clea DuVall) pitted against absurdly possessed teachers (led by Robert Patrick). The humor is adolescent, the atmosphere pubescent, but the film’s architecture — Ohio students suspicious of off-kilter teachers who suddenly crave inordinate amounts of liquid — just wacky enough to make for wonderful matinee entertainment.
Herrington High nerd Casey (Woods, pre-Hobbit) discovers a strange new life form lodged all too close to the football coach (Patrick) and takes it to his biology teacher (Jon Stewart, before his Comedy Central/”The Daily Show” days). Enter aliens. All this naturally overlaps with insider cattiness, boyish rivalries, new arrivals, and who’s dating whom. In the time it takes to say creature feature, the wacky horror is full on, with the kids up against the body-snatched while trying to decide if they have a water-bug among their own. There’s nothing that’s not predictable here but the whole is never less than charming (puns, the Herring in Herrington, intended). Moral of the story: beware your football team, and with it girls with long tongues that get naked in swimming pools, particularly if they just transferred over.