Mimic 3: Sentinel (2003)
Director: J.T. Petty
Lance Henriksen/Garbage Man
Twenty-four year old Bubble Boy Marvin (Geary) loves playing “Peeping Tom” out of his high-rise window, taking pictures of the world around him and of its inhabitants. His visual stroking ways are jacked to a whole new level though when he eventually spots a couple of mutated giant insects (known as the Judas Breed) causing a ruckus in his neighborhood. Who let the bugs out!
I loved Guillermo del Toro’s underrated "Mimic" and after the massive letdown that was "Mimic 2", I wasn’t asking for much as I slapped "Mimic- Sentinel" into my DVD player. All I was craving was one thing and one thing only; seeing massive buggers kill a lot of freakin' people. And you know what? That’s not what I got. I got something different. Different is good!
"Mimic-Sentinel" played it smart by taking the stand alone route, solely retaining the creepy-crawlies and the mythology of the two previous films. No returning ball-busting side-characters this time around. Thank the Rourke! The flick actually played out as a character-driven, “arty fartsy” version of "Mimic" and its unorthodox intimate nature for a film of its type, mucho appealed to me. It was yet another statement to the rule that sometimes "less is more". Taking its cue from Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”, this sucka swiftly put me into the lead character's (played by Karl Geary) shoes and for most of its running time, turned me into a curious voyeur. That approach sorta made me feel like an active participant within the film. I saw what Marvin saw and was living the events from his same perspective. That made the experience such a groovy one.
Having said that, film is, after all, a visual medium and it always pleases me when a director puts emphasis on his images to tell his tale. The story and the characters here were mostly communicated visually and that gave Petty carte blanche making way for some creative techniques. I particularly enjoyed the black circle around the frame that popped up near the end of the film. It acted as our own personal peep hole and had the movie keep to its voyeuristic theme even when the lead character wasn’t behind the camera. Pretty damn clever! Being that dialogue was minimal, I was also taken in by just how much of the roles burst through the screen, especially when it came to the lead of Marvin brilliantly tackled by Karl Geary. I got to know and care about most of the players here. Good stuff!
The same amount of panache was applied to the scare scenes and the bug action scenarios which were bathed in darkness and stylistically edited for maximum sucker punch on my melon. Petty sure knew how to handle his buggie stars! Whether they were standing immobile in the shadows in human-like form, making that damn creepy sound, eerily shifting direction or bugging out full blown into monster attack, the big critters in this film creeped the living shite out of me. Wait till you see them “tap dance” on a human being with their sharp claws! FUN TIMES! Backed by the solid visual effects communicating them (a mix of prosthetic and CGI), these slimy baddies kicked all kinds of girlscout cookies! SPOOKY!
On the "Raid" side of this can, the first hour of the film was too redundant and lagged considerably. I was like “Get on with it already!” There is just so much time I like to stand behind a camera, watching things. I also had qualms with some of the characters and their place in the narrative. Like what was that cop (played by John Kapelos) all about? I couldn’t believe that the dude moved in just like that! It wasn’t credible. The character really felt like a sorry excuse to have an extra victim in the chop-shop. The same can be said about the “love interest” Carmen played by Rebecca Mader. I just didn’t believe the part or the attraction between her and our frail hero. Apart from being an obvious plot device, her presence was never fully justified for me. Lastly…I WANTED MORE BUGS! But maybe that’s just me being a greedy bitch.
When all was said and squashed under my boot, "Mimic- Sentinel" wound up being a tight sit-down. It went against the norm, sported a simple yet gripping storyline and delivered some potent scares. And did I mention Lance “The Man” Henriksen is in the film at his scruffy best? When he’s on, you can’t go wrong with that guy and he was “on” here! BOOYAH! Mimic this Mimic Mimicking Rear Window!
It gets bloodier as the clock ticks forward. We get some violent bug claw stabbings (one in the eye), a severed hand and lots of blood splashes.
Karl Geary (Marvin) was the movie and thankfully he was up to the task. He gave a layered and vulnerable performance. Good show dude! Lance Henriksen (Garbage Man) underplayed it and it worked. The man owned the screen when he appeared. Alexis Dziena (Rosy) did great as the precocious, bobbling cleavage young tramp/junkie in training. She did annoy me at times but she eventually grew on me. Call me in 5 years, honey! We’ll talk over Fruit Loops. Rebecca Mader (Carmen) came through as the “love interest”, too bad her part was thinly written. Amanda Plummer (Simone) is always a delight and I for one love it when she plays a “straight” role as opposed to her usual kookie typecast. Good show girl! John Kapelos (Gary) gave a natural performance and did what he could with his "blah" written role.
T & A
Was I the only one feeling guilty gawking at young Alexis Dziena’s ample and revealed cleavage? Cover up girl! This is not a Britney Spears contest! You’re not even old enough to cut your own meat yet! The ladies get the manly bugs.
Petty went "all out" with this one with a sly use of still photographs, POV shots, lots of fades, tight editing and a slew of visual tricks that upped the stakes of the images at hand. He also did well with the suspense and attack scenes. The pace could’ve been tightened, but overall he put out a strong and balanced display.
We get an, at times, aggressive, dark score that amplified the horror juice of the film and some old timer tunes.
"Mimic- Sentinel" was a breath of fresh air when it comes to the illness known as “sequelitis” and I have to respect Dimension Films for putting out a sequel of this nature. Ballsy move guys! It's about time you wise up! Some might get turned off by the film's slow-paced artsy vibe and, at times, dragging first hour, but tough it out cheetahs because the whoopass finale brings it all home in a delicious blaze of bug attack glory. As a whole, "Mimic- Sentinel" was much better than I had expected. Rent it on that dark lonely night, when the better half is out on the town cheating on you and you’re indoors, sheltered from the cold, cheating on her with her sister. Hehehe…
This film was released straight-to-DVD on October 14, 2003.
J.T. Petty got the "Mimic: Sentinel" gig on the strength of his Award winning indie flick “Soft for Digging”.
"Mimic: Sentinel" was shot in Romania.
All three Mimic films were inspired by Donald A. Wollheim’s short story “Mimic”.