Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
An ultracreepy blend of horror and fantasy (think of it as Beauty and the Bugs) from Mexican director Guillermo del Toro (Cronos) about giant cockroaches in the subway tunnels beneath Manhattan. Like its DNA-altered spawn ... more »
Rises above the norm!
D. Litton | Wilmington, NC | 08/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Life finds a way." Ian Malcom, "Jurassic Park"This famous line from Steven Speilberg's dinosaur adventure has become a popular lesson of many science fiction films today. "Mimic," a film in which genetically altered insects become something never intended, is no exception to this particular lesson; in fact, the movie uses it to its advantage on numerous occasions, that, and some very sophisticated special effects and filmmaking techniques. Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, who directed "Cronos," turns what is a basic nature-gone-mad movie into something more terrifying, more chilling, and more suspenseful than anything we've ever seen done before.That's not to say that "Mimic" is as fresh as a spring breeze. There are elements at work in the film that are all too familiar if you know your science fiction well. There's the obligatory explanation for the havoc surrounding the central characters, scenes involving them being trapped somewhere beyond any help, and a hero in the group that will devise all the plans for escape and the way in which to kill their opponent. But under a new premise, and some very strikingly intense moments, "Mimic" makes the old seem new again.The hero (or heroine, in this case) is Dr. Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino), who is called upon by the city of New York to find a cure for a fatal disease striking the city's children. Along with husband Peter Mann (Jeremy Northam), they create a genetically altered breed of insect (revealed as a cross between a cockroach and a praying mantis) to wipe out the disease-infested cockroaches underneath the city.Of course, the bugs, named the "Judas" breed, were altered in ways that left them with a short life expectancy of only six months, plus a sterile female so that no mating will take place. But, after three years have passed, Susan encounters a bug closely resembling the "Judas" breed insects, and it becomes apparent to her that they have survived.How did they survive? The movie never explains it, which is best; it's better left as a mystery. It also leaves room for the ensuing action sequences, as Susan and Peter, along with a police officer (Charles Dutton), make their way into the underground subways and abandoned facilities beneath the city streets.This is where things get really interesting, as del Toro works his magic on us. A simple scene in which Susan attempts to retrieve a flashlight by sticking her hand in a dark hole is full of suspense, while a claustrophobic intensity permeates sequences involving an abandoned subway car where the group seeks refuge from their predators. Accompanying all of this is a heightened sensory perception. Del Toro toys with shadow and light, along with sight and sound, to add an atmospheric feel to each setting. Not since "Seven" have I seen a film that uses this technique so masterfully.And the message behind it all? It's one we're well familiarized with, that playing God gets us nowhere. Sure, Susan's intentions were in the right place, and we even understand her reasons after an early shot of her in a hospital ward filled with sick children. I think the general theme behind all of the mayhem is not one of toying with science, but one on the many ways that life can change, and evolve into something previously unknown."Mimic" has a good cast in its favor. Mira Sorvino shines in a role that differs from others roles of her career, such as "Mighty Aphrodite." But she proves herself able to play a convincing character in any situation. Jeremy Northam is the last person you'd expect to see running through tunnels and putting himself in dangerous situations, but he pulls it off. F. Murray Abraham makes an appearance as Susan's mentor, Dr. Gates, playing the well-educated man to perfection, while Charles Dutton is superbly comical and heroic as Leonard, the police officer."Mimic" is a dazzlingly intense adventure that is genuinely suspenseful and totally entertaining. It's ability to tighten the intensity surrounding its sequence of events is a trait rare to this genre, as is its ability to bring us into the atmosphere of the film's murky settings. Del Toro has fashioned a new evolution of sci-fi out of old-school tricks; I highly recommend this film."
Watch Out, It's Not a Human!!! Shrewd Sci-fi Horror
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 06/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This may be a very personal thing, but my cousin once saw Mira Sorvino in a karaoke bar in Kyoto five years ago. I still regret that she (my cousin) didn't have my phone number to invite me. Anyway, Mira Sorvino was here in Japan for the promotion of this creep film "Mimic." It was a bit surprise she took the role of entomologist Dr. Tyler, because it was soon after she got an Oscar for that Woody Allen film. But she judged right for this film turned out successful, being directed by Guillermo Del Toro, later to direct "Blade 2."The story is, in my opinion, another clever look on urban legend. In New York, a deadly disease carried by roaches burst out, and many children suffer from that, most cases leading to death. Entomologist Susan Tyler (Sorvino), asked by CDC specialst Peter (Jeremy Northan, of "Emma" and "The Net"), embarks on a plan based on releasing a genetically enhanced new spieces. It worked; the disease soon is gone, but that's only the beginning of another plague that is more deadly.And that is THE Thing, that acts like humans, but in fact, lethal enemy to us. They inhabit in a disused subway constructions where unlucky characters have to be trapped. Though the story seems derailed in the final chapter of the film, the film, as a whole, maintains its creepy atomosphere throughout, and those weird feelings that some people might get when they watch insects -- something akin to awe and fear -- are tactfully expressed in the darkly images of the underground world. The cast is also superb; besides intelligent Sorvino, you see Charles S. Dutton ("Alien 3"), Josh Brolin ("NIghtwatch"), F. Murray Abraham ("Amadeus") and Giancorlo Giannini ("Hannibal"). And some may be amuzed by the stylish opening title sequence by Kyle Cooper, who did his job in "Se7en." and many others. Basically, love or hate film, "Mimic" will engage the heart of the people who love the kind of film like David Cronenberg. The story's defect is obvious (and the film at several points resembles that of underrated John Sayles film "The Alligator"), but if you go in for an eerie feelings of his films, it is worth a look."
The Tweeder | Indianapolis, Indiana | 01/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Director: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Alexander Goodwin, Giancarlo Giannini, Charles Dutton, Josh Brolni, Alix Koromzay, F. Murray Abraham, James Costa.
Running Time: 105 minutes
Rated R for terror/violence and language.
"Mimic", like all great genre pictures, exists comfortably in two spheres: on the simple level, it speedily entertains as a gory fright film imbued with mordant humor; on the more difficult level, it provides symbolism and thematic undertow. Best of all, these two levels often work at the same time, such as when an old priest gets tossed off a building by one of the creatures, plummeting past a neon "Jesus Saves" sign, and crashing to a gory death on the pavement. A little while later, the creature drags the dead body into the gaping black maw of an open sewer. The latter is what "Mimic" is really really for: the importance of breeding and offspring. The movie's surreal opening, with its rows of linen-canopied hospital beds all in a row like so many little coffins, shows us sick children, gasping for air because a cockroach-borne disease is carrying them off. The battle lines are drawn in the first few moments: Us versus Them. Scientists Mia Sorvino and Jeremy Northam glean the cure for the dread disease by concocting a genetically-altered bug whose secretions kill off the diseased cockroaches; "Judas Breed", as it's called, will be the only true breed this couple will engender: Sorvino fails pregnancy tests at home, while their creature, supposedly unable to reproduce, grows apace underneath Manhattan's fallopian sewers. It merely seems like "nature's way" that the Judas Breed has mutated to the size of six feet, and can mimic standing upright like their human prey, It's also fitting that these creatures instinctively hone in on the vulnerability of children: they viciously rip apart two kids, and befriend another who has managed to communicate with them by clicking soup-spoons together.
This is an atmospheric thriller from Guillermo del Toro, director of "The Devil's Backbone" and "Cronos", who manages to mix great direction with good old fashioned monster horror to great effect. The concept itself is clever, even if the idea of bugs evolving to look very like humans is a little fa-fetched; however, once the action moves to the subway the fact that the bugs are clearly lethal no matter what they look like, makes this less important. The film is quite short and makes the action come quicker and seem more urgent. Several people get killed by the bug that wouldn't usually get killed in this sort of horror (children for example), this is very effective as it is quite scary to see the unexpected happen. The mood is dark throughout and Del Toro uses the sewers and subway to great effect, creating a real sense of claustrophobia, like the humans have entered the bug's world and not the other way round. The bugs are shown early on in the film - usually not a good idea (keep it hidden in the "Jaws" way), but here the special effects are good enough to make the bug really believable, yet the horror is not in seeing the bugs but in they way they hunt and kill, but the fear is in what could happen. The cast are great, Sorvino especially is very good in the lead. Jeremy Northam and Charles S. Dutton are good in support and Abraham Murray adds a bit of cameo class (though his role is quite unnecessary). The director is the real star, adding some genuine scares and real mood to a film that could have easily been just another creature-feature that goes straight to video and straight to the back of your mind. Overall a superior creature horror film."
Nice concept, Above average movie
H. Lin | St. Louis, MO | 05/16/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The idea of a genetic mutation miscalculation which leads to the higher evolution of insects to adopt human ways is not impossible. Del Toro took a very X-file-ish theme and created a very enjoyable sci-fi thriller. The movie was very fast paced and both the horror and suspense elements were done just right, not too little and not too overdone.
A few things I didn't like about this film was some of its more subtle things. Mira Sorvino was playing an entomologist, yet when she studies or investigate specimens, she takes no logical safety precautions. The same recklessness occurs repeatedly for her and every other cast throughout movie. Things like touching bugs that likely carry unknown diseases with your bare hands, or when they go underground to hunt for the roaches without any type of scientific or safety equipments is just very illogical to me. To think that in the beginning of the movie, the city undergone a catastrophic epidemic that were spread by roaches and for them to go on the rest of the movie every time without any planning or taking precaution is just unthinkable. The plot was nicely written and the story flowed well, but the reckless actions from supposedly "experts" just kills it. It doesn't just happen once or twice, but every single time. A number of scenes also seemed very forced and felt like they were put there just so the story can continue the way the director wanted, yet they made no logical sense.
Despite the few imperfections, this movie is still a great watch. I definitely recommend a rental if you are looking for a nice action thriller to kill a saturday night."