Mimic is a 1997 sci-fi horror film directed by Guillermo del Toro and it is his second and a bit underrated feature film.
It is about a genetically engineered bugs that were released to the wild, but are suddenly much more advanced and, through mimicry, start to kill people. This is an interesting story for a variety of reasons. Now obviously it does have some similarities to other genre works, most notably David Cronenberg’s superior masterpiece ‘The Fly‘. However, while similar to some degree, it is also very original in other aspects, most notably in its setting and creature behavior. The way these bugs mimic humans created this creepy image of a hooded figure that is the highlight of the film and the most authentic thing about it. I really liked its attention to detail.
The setting is also used really well with some good action sequences thrown in the mix. But on the other hand, this movie is weird in its pacing and structure. It seems as though you are watching two different movies with the first half being a scientific build-up and the second being the action horror spectacle. In that way it is similar to del Toro’s previous movie – it starts as a smart indie, but ends as a typical blockbuster. But here however I liked that second half more as the first isn’t that gripping. The action later on is executed really well and I liked most parts of its third act, although it admittedly seems strange as half of the movie is literally one giant action sequence.
The characters are unremarkable. Dr. Susan Tyler is never as fleshed out as she should have been and although Officer Leonard was more memorable, he is still not well realized as are unfortunately all of its characters. The character development really is weak.
The acting is also forgettable. Josh Brolin and Mira Sorvino did an okay job, but still far from great in unimpressive roles as well. But the directing is again really good and the cinematography I really liked a lot with a lot of creepy imagery at display. The special effects are stupendous for the time as the insects are brought to life in a really respectable manner. The score is also okay as are evidently the sound effects and the themes are good, although very underused. The dialogue I found quite solid and the details are great with the creature design being especially terrific. And although predictable and way too typical at times, it is still a very entertaining flick for sure with a very creepy atmosphere.
Comparing it to ‘Cronos’, I would say that Mimic is underrated as it is a much more entertaining film. It isn’t as original for sure, but it does have its authentic aspects and it looks good with some fine thrills. Del Toro was definitely finding his voice here and although he does a solid job with this subject matter, I feel that he would prove himself the most in the future when he stepped out of his comfort zone and started making some different stories with different themes. But even though this is still a flawed movie, you can evidently see an abundance of talent here.
Mimic does have some similar themes to other genre films, it is tonally uneven and the characters and acting are really forgettable, but this is still an underappreciated movie as it has its strengths, mainly the authentic creature design, very entertaining action sequences and overall a solid plot and atmosphere. It is a flawed, but still fun and memorable experience.