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Mimic (1997)
 
   
 Directed by: Guillermo Del Toro
 Starring: Mira Sorvino/Susan
Jeremy Northam/Peter
Charles Dutton/Leonard
Josh Brolin/Josh
     
RATING

PLOT-CRUNCH:


A disease is killing the children of New York City. Since the common roach is the carrier of this plague, Dr. Susan (Sorvino) creates a super cockroach (called The Judas Breed) to eliminate the standard ones. The problem is that instead of dying off like they're supposed to, the Judas Breed grows and evolves to take on its only predator…man.
  

THE LOWDOWN:


Mimic’s core might not be very original (a bunch of people trapped in an isolated area below the subway with crazy creatures after them) and I’ve heard many critics call it an "Aliens" rip-off, and to a certain extent I can see that, but to me, "Mimic" was always much more than that. For starters, the basic premise is very kool and the evolution of the creature fascinating. Having giant bugs be able to mimic man’s appearance is a gnarly twist to the old tale. I also loved the atmosphere that the film gives out. To me, it has a very strong “Seven” influence. From the slick opening credits (much like Seven) to the damp rainy exteriors and the polished directing style, this film can almost be called “Seven” with bugs.

I also respected this film’s "balls-on" approach. It likes to kill off characters you wouldn’t normally see bite it. Some of the kills really took me by surprise. Another thing is the tension I felt during those attacks. You would think that with an overdone formula, the murders would just happen and that you wouldn’t feel a thing, but I felt genuine suspense here and that’s an accomplishment in itself.

Others were really annoyed by the autistic kid subplot but personally I didn’t mind it most of the time. It’s different and the kid does a good job. I also dug the religious undertones that Del Toro slapped in. I mean, the bug is called The Judas Breed. Judas was the apostle who betrayed Jesus much like the bugs betray man. Sometimes the religious imagery did feel like it was there for the sake of being there, but it did add some visual flair to the film.

But don’t get me wrong, because "Mimic" has its share of booboos as well. First off, I didn’t buy how everybody eventually wound up at the same place under the subway; a bit too convenient for my liking. The flick also has one of the characters sacrifice himself to save the others and personally, I didn’t buy it. He/she doesn’t come across as the kind of person who would do that. I also didn’t understand why the film introduced the Remy character early on in the film, only to drop her completely for the latter part of the movie. Seeing her as the lead in "Mimic 2", it kind of makes sense now but in this film, her presence is never really fully justified. I also didn’t dig the ending too much. Two characters who should’ve died return, the final bug confrontation is too far-fetched and the last frame of the film suggests a very silly and overly sappy turn of events.

But overall, I still really liked "Mimic". It's masterfully directed, has real scares, good actors, great atmosphere and kickass bug attack sequences. It might not be totally original but then again, what is? For what it is, I think it hits higher than the mark. Apart from the Alien movies, can you count on one hand the number of "monster on the loose" movies which actually scared you? I can and "Mimic" is one of them.
    

ACTING:


Mira Sorvino (Susan) does a very good job. She’s natural and adds a very emotional side to her character. Jeremy Northam (Peter) is also on the money with his part, the chemistry with Sorvino is "on" and he plays it all very realistically. Charles Dutton (Leonard) was a bit too stereotypical for my taste, but some of his bantering was amusing. Josh Brolin (Josh) shows up to look pretty and play himself. Not much else. I liked Alix Koromzay (Remy) here way more than in the tepid sequel. She’s funny and kinda cute. Too bad her character doesn’t go anywhere here and gets ruined in the sequel by having her be so serious and dull. F. Murray Abraham (Dr. Gates) doesn’t do much but when he shows up he adds an extra touch of class to the film.
 

GORE:


Lots of bloody bug attacks, they happen quickly but the plasma still flows. Lots of gross bugs, bug corpses and lots of shit on walls (I’m not kidding). This film is very gooey and has solid effects.
   

T & A:


Mira Sorvino in a wet white dress splashing in a tub. Not much to get erect about.
   

DIRECTING:


Del Toro goes wild with the camera angles, loves image superimposition, does great things with sound (loved the bug noises), surrounds the film with gloomy atmosphere and slaps in enough tension for two movies. Great job, dude!
   

SOUNDTRACK:


The score is very effective and Arrow appreciated its tendency to go quiet during the more suspenseful scenes.
   

BOTTOM LINE:


In my opinion, "Mimic" is a very underrated film. The script doesn’t always live up to its slick visuals but when all was said and done, I had a freaking blast. Suspense in films rarely sucks me in anymore but "Mimic" hooked me most of the time. It was great to feel uneasy in my seat again.
 

BULL'S EYE:


The film was based on the short story “Mimic” by Donald A. Wollheim.

The screenplay was written by Matthew Robbins ("Batteries Not Included") and director Guillermo Del Toro.

Read the Arrow's MIMIC 2 review here

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The Way The Arrow Points...

   
 I’d BUTCHER my family to see this again
 HANG me but I dug it a lot
 An ok way to KILL two hours
 Just sling an ARROW in my head and let me die in peace

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