Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Cast: Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Josh Brolin, Charles S. Dutton
Long before Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy and Pacific Rim left our jaws on the floor, a product of the visuals alone, Guillermo del Toro favored straight forward stories with tons of practical special effects. And while I’m a fan of the aforementioned films (sans Pacific Rim), there’s nothing quite like Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone and Mimic.
Today called for a Mimic marathon, so naturally, I’ll kick things off with a rundown of the inaugural franchise offering.
Pay attention, if you’re foreign to the film, it won’t hurt to pick up some valuable information.
Dr. Susan Tyler and Dr. Peter Mann are two innovative, visionary Entomologists who create a strand of insect known as the Judas Breed, a vicious insect predator designed to rid the streets of cockroaches, as they’ve begun infecting many with a fatal affliction known as the “Strickler’s disease.” Brilliant creation, on the surface, but when the Judas fails to die after one year, as has been designed by Tyler and Mann, things go wrong.
Three years pass and Tyler receives a treat on her desk. A baby Judas. A baby Judas that shouldn’t exist, it should’ve died two years prior. But it didn’t die, and not only does she learn that the Judas breed evolved, they’ve grown to massive proportions, they’ve now got a taste for humans flesh, and perhaps worse, they’re extremely adept at mimicking man.
Can an unlikely group bring an end to this new menace? Or are the insects bound to overthrow more than this small group? Will they work their way into society, a seen, but unseen force?
Guillermo del Toro once relied solely on storytelling and pitch-perfect plot structure. Before he slowly gravitated to heavy CGI (that’s damaged a few of his pictures, including Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak and though I adore it, to a lesser extent, Blade II) he also brought with him to set some of the finest practical effects men in the business, like Zane Knisely, Colin Penman, David Martí and Arjen Tuiten.
Mimic is the prime of that time for del Toro. This movie moves at breakneck speed, features a slew of iconic images, amazing antagonists, gruesome and graphic monster designs, a creative concept and some absolutely riveting performances. It’s an amazing piece, and no matter how big del Toro continues to go with his films, some of his less expensive and “simpler” (there really is nothing simple about this, but compared to Pacific Rim, well…) pictures (look into Cronos!!) are his absolute best.
Mimic is without debate one of the greatest genre films of the 1990s. People have a tendency to label the 30s, 40s, 50s, 70s, 80s, and more recent decades to be the finest for horror, but the 1990s saw the release of some wild gems. Mimic ranks among the very best of the best.