I hate bugs. Hate them hate them. Roaches especially. The site of a roach anywhere near me will send me squealing to the highest available surface. That having been said, let me just tell you that it was an exercise of sheer will to watch the first hour of this movie. It was terrifying from the moment the introductory credits began to role. The credits are a remarkable effort in editing that piece together a bizarre montage of footage ranging from microscope slides to newsreels to textbook pages and dark bug infested crevices. I almost had to turn the movie off right there.
The story focuses on Dr. Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino), an entomologist, who in the first few minutes of the film is called upon by the CDC to help stop an epidemic. Millions of the citys children are dying from a disease spread by the indestructible cockroach. In order to stop the spread, Tyler creates a biological weapon in the form of a new species of bug designed to infiltrate the roach population and destroy it, before dying off itself at the end of its altered biological cycle. All of this takes place in the first 20 minutes or less and it is all creepy, buggy and dark.
Jump ahead three years and Dr. Tyler stumbles across evidence that her self-destructing bugs may not have actually self-destructed. The cure to the disease is becoming a plague unto itself and Tyler must destroy her bugs before they destroy mankind.
Okay, did I mention bugs? Ohmigod there were so many bugs. Mimic, so named because of the insect worlds propensity to survive by mimicking its enemies (in this case, humans), is a scary movie for at least an hour. Really creepy and with high levels of suspense and shivers. The last half hour or so turns Species/Aliens, as our heroes face-off with the strange, human sized bugs, in an old, unused part of the subway system (does every city have a creepy maze of unused subway tunnels?).
The battle/bug-hunt reveals the creatures to us, making them less scary (because now theyre big and doofy and out in the open, not little and creepy and hiding in your pantry), and suddenly adds comic relief with Leonard (Charles S. Dutton), the subway security guy who gets stuck helping out.
The Dolby Digital sound was terrific. The majority of what makes this film creepy involves the kinds of bug sounds that come from corners and crevices-sounds that let you know that something is there and you cant see it. Dimension did a wonderful job with this. The picture quality is also superb until we get into the subway sequences, at which point the action becomes fast paced and things are so dark that activity gets lost in the depths and colors are indistinguishable or orangish.
Mimic falls into a kind of movie limbo. It was not a blockbuster, but it also hasnt really achieved very much cult recognition from fans of low-end sci-fi (not compared to say, Species, which isnt as good). As a result, Dimension didnt spend a ton of money beefing this disc up with extras. Frankly, thats okay. The movie looks and sounds really good and its definitely worth adding to your collection. It is a frightening movie because the bad guy isnt from outer space and its not a serial killer-its a big, mutated roach. Did I mention how much I hate roaches?
Amy Morrison, 3/5/2001