Sunday, March 18, 2012

Film Review--Mimic

starring Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Josh Brolin, Charles S. Dutton, F. Murray Abraham, and that Leprechaun from Lucky Charms as "The Beav."

A new pathogen has spread through New York City, one that is carried by the common cockroach and affects only children.  An entomologist (Sorvino) creates a mutated insect breed to kill off the cockroaches using a deadly secretion.  This engineered new breed is designed to die off after one generation.  But as a series of bizarre killings take place in and around the sewers and tunnels of the city, it is thought that the insects have evolved and survived...and learned how to mimic human form.

For the first time in sixteen years or so, I finally saw this film from start to finish.  I was surprised by its quality and enjoyability.  Now now, I know that the premise is quite shaky but at the same time I find it very original.  There really are insects in nature that are able to mimic the appearance of those that prey upon them.  Could a species do this with humans?  Doubtful, but it's a marvelous point from which to proceed and it yields the modern era equivalent of an "atomic horror" matinee feature.
Mira Sorvino, high off of her Oscar win in 1996 for Mighty Aphrodite, turns in a solid performance in her role as the brilliant scientist.  My only criticism is that I can't imagine that there are a whole lot of entomologists out there as hot as she is but that's Hollywood for you.  I also hadn't realized that Guillermo del Toro directed this film.  Del Toro has directed the Hellboy films and produced The Orphanage.  That latter film had such brisance in its's no wonder that del Toro is one of film's go-to guys for moody horror.  He certainly gets the job done here.  In fact, I consider one of the hallmarks of good suspense and thrillers to be that I never once get the feeling that each of the main characters will make it out alive.

The only downside is that the film does lean a bit upon the "we're caught in a dark, confined space and icky bug creatures are after us" trope.  That said, it's never enough to be overly distracting or used as a crutch.  If it does then I guess it slid right off of me.  Probably because the idea just captivates my imagination.  Insects that can mimic our form.  Great idea...even if it stretches believability a bit.  But isn't that what good science fiction is supposed to do?

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