A disease carried by common cockroaches is killing Manhattan children. In an effort to stop the epidemic an entomologist, Susan Tyler, creates a mutant breed of insect that secretes a fluid to kill the roaches. This mutant breed was engineered to die after one generation, but three years later Susan finds out that the species has survived and evolved into a large, gruesome monster that can mimic human form.Written by
Steven Dretzke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Due to the heavy-handed post-production influence of Harvey Weinstein, this film appears on a 2017 list in The Telegraph entitled "Harvey Scissorhands: 6 films ruined by Harvey Weinstein." See more »
In an aerial stock shot at around 9:00 min running time of the Director's Cut, the PanAm Building is to be seen. It was re-branded MetLife Building in 1993, when in fact the film is set in 1997. See more »
Sometimes an insect will evolve to mimic its predator. A fly can look like a spider, a caterpillar can look like a snake. The Judas evolved to mimic its predator... us.
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Guillermo del Toro released a director's cut in 2011. It runs for 112 minutes. See more »
The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell)
Music by Benjamin Britten See more »
What happened to Guillermo Del Toro? On the strength of his first foreign "indie" feature *Cronos*, and then this minor masterwork (his first foray into Hollywood), one was expecting great things from this director. Lately, however, he's doing hack-work on things like *Blade 2*. Whatever -- Hollywood, I guess.
In the meantime, please check out *Mimic*, if you haven't already. Yeah yeah, sure sure, it owes a lot to *Alien* (visually), *Invasion of the Body Snatchers* (thematically), and even Fincher's *Seven* (visually again). But then, those movies owe a lot to their OWN influences: indeed, science fiction is a pretty incestuous genre, with surprisingly few innovations, at least in cinema. It's enough of a pleasure to watch a guy do this type of thing correctly, which is to say, he puts his own vision and concerns to great use. This movie, like all great genre pictures, exists comfortably in two spheres: on the simple level, it speedily entertains as a gory fright film imbued with mordant humor; on the more difficult level, it provides symbolism and thematic undertow. Best of all, these two levels often work at the same time, such as when an old priest gets tossed off a building by one of the creatures, plummeting past a neon "JESUS SAVES" sign, and crashing to a gory death on the pavement. A little while later, the creature drags the dead body into the gaping black maw of an open sewer.
The corpse is gone, forever. JESUS SAVES--? Not really, I guess: not in Del Toro's world of relentless survivalism and hyper-competitive reproduction.
For the latter is what *Mimic* is really "about": the importance of breeding and offspring. The movie's surreal opening, with its rows of linen-canopied hospital beds all in a row like so many little coffins, shows us sick children, gasping for air because a cockroach-borne disease is carrying them off. The battle lines are drawn in the first few moments: Us versus Them. The casualties thus far are our most precious commodity: our kids. Cutie-pie "scientists" Mia Sorvino and Jeremy Northam glean the cure for the dread disease by concocting a genetically-altered bug whose secretions kill off the diseased cockroaches. But this "Judas Breed", as it's called, will be the only true breed this couple will engender: Sorvino fails pregnancy tests at home, while their creature -- supposedly unable to reproduce -- grows apace underneath Manhattan's fallopian sewers. Which, by the way, are strewn with the rapidly-developing creatures' eggs. It merely seems like "Nature's Way" that the Judas Breed has mutated to the size of six feet, and can mimic standing upright like their ultimate "prey", Man -- even sporting a man-like face as a sort of cover that splits apart at will, revealing the Bug Within. It's also fitting that these creatures instinctively hone in on the vulnerability of children: they viciously rip apart two kids, and befriend another who has managed to communicate with them by clicking soup-spoons together. (Perhaps they consider the little bugger might be a possible playmate for their own offspring, while they wait for him to get big enough to eat.)
Del Toro ties in his reproductive symbolism with religious motifs. ("Judas Breed.") The bugs, for instance, desecrate an old Catholic church in the city . . . but then, they're helped in this by the humans, who have barred entry to the church and have covered up the wooden saint statues with cobwebby plastic covering. Humanity, playing God by "giving birth" to unhallowed creatures, unwittingly colludes in its own extinction by denying God, to say nothing of the aforementioned curse of sterility. I've already covered the fate of the priest. There's much more, including Charles Dutton's physical sufferings that amount to a sort of mini-Passion, as well as another character's use of a pseudo-stigmata to kill one of the creatures.
But the best pleasures reside squarely in the thrills and fun of the thing. If nothing else, the scene in which a Judas Breed reveals itself to a running-away Sorvino -- running after her, scooping her up, and then flying off into the dark subway tunnel -- justifies the rest of the film's symbolic mumbo-jumbo. Speaking of Sorvino: quibble about her inadequacy all you want, but she's pretty (when not covered in bug-guts), and in any case Dutton's heroic performance cancels out the bimbo factor. Dutton gives his all in this film. Luckily for him and us, the film is more than worthy of his efforts.
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