Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Category: Sci-fi / Horror
You know, I'm a huge fan of writer/director Guillermo del Toro. Ever since Blade II (where I was first introduced to this wonderkid), the guy has seriously impressed me with his writing and directing style. It's safe to say that he's definitely one of the few visionary filmmakers out there. He's one of those filmmakers who has a very specific look to almost all of his films, much like Peter Jackson. But this is one of those films that I somehow never got around to for various reasons. I think the lame U.S. DVD cover art never appealed to me to begin with. I mean, it's a film about mutant bugs and the cover is a close up of star Mira Sorvino? Actually, the more I think about it, the DVD cover art must be the reason. But when I heard they were releasing a "Director's Cut" with some nice special features and an intro by del Toro himself? Well I thought this would be the perfect time to finally check this sucker out. Plus, look at that new cover art! Brilliant, bloody fucking brilliant and if they put this much attention into it's initial release, I think it would have been a much more successful film than it initially was.
When roaches seem to be the cause of a disease striking children in great numbers in New York City, entomologist Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) seems to have created a miracle cure, a mutated bug created in the lab that will kill off the cockroaches, effectively putting an end to the fast spreading disease, and then die also within a week. The approach seems to work and there appears to be no sign of this child killing disease for a few years. But when a rash of murders and disappearances along with the discovery of one of her genetically mutated bugs that were supposed to have died off years ago come to light, she soon realizes they have something much more dangerous on there hands. A super bug that has grown and adapted to mimic human beings, which make them much more dangerous than anybody could have ever imagined.
This was a really good movie. Director Guillermo del Toro has such a keen eye for fantasy, that even in the realms of a horror film, it looks and feels like a fantasy film also. Atmosphere. Atmosphere is what this film is all about and del Toro pulls it off splendidly. It's a purely cinematic experience that only someone of del Toro's gifts can generate. I've never seen the theatrical cut though, so I can't compare that version to this one. Though in the supplemental material found on this release he states that there were problems right from the beginning and he states matter of factly that it was a miserable experience and he was not able to make the film he set out to make. Even with this "Director's Cut", though he says he's happy with it seeing the light of day, he's still not completely happy and if this is the closest we get to his original vision, then it's better than nothing.
Mimic: The Director's Cut tells us immediately what's going on right from the get go, which I really liked. They lay it all out for you with the disease that's killing children and with Susan Tyler single handedly putting a stop to it........seemingly. This is all done in the first 15 minutes. Fast forward a few years and she's married to another scientist and they are trying to have a baby, while both also being married to there work. One day a couple of kids bring her a huge bug that they found in the subway which they intend to sell to her for a few bucks. While observing the bug it attacks her, which she in turn kills out of frustration and when it starts secreting a white liquid, the same secretion she designed and created years ago to kill off the cockroaches in the first place, she realizes that these new bugs somehow survived and that's only the tip of the iceberg. Soon she realizes they've also evolved, grown and adapted tremendously within just 3 years and can now mimic human beings in the dark of the subway tunnels.
The slow burn pace in the first half didn't really put me off because I really liked what I was seeing. Visually, it's impressive. And for me, most of the time, it's enough to keep me interested enough to finish it through to the end. But thankfully, the second half of the film really delivers with all the suspense, chills and even action you'd come to expect from Guillermo del Toro. Not in the same way as in Blade II or the Hellboy films, but in the parameters of a horror film, it was exciting and well done. I'd been wanting to pick up this Blu-ray ever since it was released, but was unsure if it was any good so I didn't want to shell out the cash for it, you know.....just in case it sucked. But, as luck would have it, it was on sale at Best Buy for very cheap and wanting to buy myself a little father's day gift, I just couldn't resist and what a gift it was. I'm glad I purchased it though because this is something I can see myself revisiting from time to time for the visual stimulation. Plus, it has a healthy dose of special features. Short, but with a lot of info on the problems that plagued the production and also on the creation of the creatures and whatnot. The most fascinating though would be del Toro's candid interview in his curse laden explanation as to why he doesn't think it's a very good film in general (though he's happy this release reflects more closely to his vision than the studio's theatrical cut) and what his original intent had been for the film right from the beginning. All in all, Mimic is not great a great film, but it's a very satisfying horror/fantasy film with a killer ending.