USA - 1997

Movie Review By Andrea Chase

If you've ever had to eradicate roaches, you won't find the premise of "Mimic" all that far-fetched. The part about six-foot insects that bear a passing resemblance to human beings, well maybe not, but the part about bullets not stopping them, hey, no problem.

The story opens with a plague decimating the child population of Manhattan. Never mind why just Manhattan, never mind why just kids, it's not that kind of movie. The important thing is that it's the roaches that are carrying the disease. Which brings us to Mira Sorvino, the bug-mad scientist who whips up a little recombinant DNA and unleashes the results on the resident roach population. The engineered bugs are supposed to wipe out the carriers and then conveniently drop dead, but I think we all know what happens when a scientist, no matter how pure of heart, tampers with nature. It's called playing God and in the movies, that always invites disaster. It's a rule.

Sure enough, three years later, which translates as a million bug years, an unsuspecting New York is home to a whole new kind of specially evolved vermin - tall, dark and voracious. They've gone unnoticed because they're nocturnal and night is when all smart New Yorkers are doing their level best to NOT make eye contact with strangers. The only non-victim to see them is an autistic, shoe-obsessed kid who lives next door to their colony. But, because this is a by-the-numbers horror flick, the next and only other person to find out is Mira, who then does her darndest to clean up the mess she's made. God forbid she should call the authorities for help.

Director Guillermo del Toro again revels in a bug-fixation evidenced in his earlier flick, the gross yet elegant cult-favorite "Chronos." "Mimic," too, is elegantly filmed with mouth-watering color saturation and a visual sense that renders even a pile of maggoty insect gunk aesthetically fascinating. The action is more edgy and moody than heart stopping, but there's no denying that this kitchy bug fest, abounding in goo and squish, is the stuff of nightmares. You WILL want to stock up on Raid on the way home.

© 1997 Andrea Chase Air Date: 8/20/97

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