Today: April 19, 2024


Creepy gothic thrills in Guillermo del Toro’s atmospheric creature feature

Creepy gothic thrills in Guillermo del Toro’s
atmospheric creature feature.

There are a
handful of filmmakers working in Hollywood who can attach their name to a
project and immediately put a stamp on it. In the past it was the likes of Alfred Hitchcock but these days one-man reigns supreme and that is Guillermo del Toro. Having made a name for himself in his
native Mexico with vampire chiller Cronos
del Toro took the plunge of making a studio picture. The result was Mimic, a film that del Toro was frustrated by
due to producer interference.
After many years the film has now received a director’s cut restoring it
to something closer to what the maestro intended.

When a deadly
virus, carried by cockroaches, starts to wipe out the children of New York Dr.
Susan Tyler (Sorvino) creates a
genetic cross breed of bug. The result wipes out the virus but in the depths of
the New York subway the new bugs are breeding and forming a hive that could
threaten all mankind. It’s up to
Tyler, her husband Dr. Peter Mann (Northam)
and a rag-tag team of men to delve the depths of the underground and wipe out
the insects before they wipe us out.

The premise is
nothing you have not seen before.
Giant monsters stalking ill-equipped, often bickering humans, through
dark passages. Indeed even the
bugs seem to owe a nod to the life-cycle of the Aliens from the Alien
franchise, themselves of course based on termites and ants. Sorvino taking on the dirty-faced female
lead ala Sigourney Weaver in this instance. Where Mimic
works though is in its atmospherics.

Del Toro’s style
is gothic horror with a splash of sci-fi ghoulishness. He is, if you will, a Lovecraftian master with a hint of the Edgar Allen Poe. In other words the film literally drips
with goo. Chiaroscuro lighting,
peeling walls and general slime and ooze abound owing more than a little to the
aesthetics of David Fincher’s Se7en.
But it works, making for a nourish horror thriller that draws you in with
premise rather than character.

As with much of
his other work, like Cronos, Hell Boy
and Pan’s Labyrinth, children play a
key role. They are the building
blocks around which del Toro loves to hang his story. Unlike other filmmakers though kids are never immune in del
Toro’s worlds. They are just as
likely to be eaten, maimed or squashed as the adults. Hell, here he kills off half the child population of New
York in the prologue. The
result is that if the little ones can die anyone can making the tension,
especially in the final third when the plot has waned somewhat, all the more

Although the director’s
cut does little to flesh out the film, it merely adds a bit more character
drama, Mimic is still a fun monster movie. Del Toro would of course go on to be something of a name in
this genre and this is a must see viewing for any fan of his. For everyone else Mimic is solid, if
unspectacular, fun that gnaws away at you like a nasty bug bite. Just pray the bug that bites you is not
as big as these creepy crawlies.

To Buy Mimic on Blu-Ray Click Here

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email:

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