|Directed by||Guillermo del Toro|
|Produced by||Ole Bornedal
B. J. Rack
|Screenplay by||Matthew Robbins
Guillermo del Toro
|Story by||Matthew Robbins
Guillermo del Toro
by Donald A. Wollheim
Charles S. Dutton
F. Murray Abraham
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Edited by||Patrick Lussier|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
Mimic is an American 1997 science fiction horror film co-written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, and starring Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Josh Brolin, Charles S. Dutton and Giancarlo Giannini. It is based on a short story of the same name by Donald A. Wollheim.
Del Toro was unhappy with the film as released, especially because he did not succeed in obtaining a final cut of the film; however, his director's cut version was finally released in 2011. Mimic, whose U.S. theatrical gross was $25 million, was followed by two direct-to-video sequels, Mimic 2 (2001) and Mimic 3: Sentinel (2003), neither of them with del Toro involved.
It includes several examples of del Toro's most characteristic hallmarks. "I have a sort of a fetish for insects, clockwork, monsters, dark places, and unborn things," said del Toro, and this is evident in Mimic, where at times all are combined in long, brooding shots of dark, cluttered, muddy chaotic spaces. According to Alfonso Cuarón, del Toro's friend and colleague, "with Guillermo the shots are almost mathematical — everything is planned.”
In Manhattan, cockroaches are spreading the deadly "Strickler's disease" that is claiming hundreds of the city's children. Entomologist Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) uses genetic engineering to create what her colleague (and husband) Peter Mann (Jeremy Northam) and she call the Judas breed, a large insect (looking like a cross between a termite and a praying mantis) that releases an enzyme that kills off the disease-carrying roaches by speeding up their metabolism. The Judas breed works spectacularly and the crisis is abated. The released population was all-female and designed with a lifespan of only a few months, so that it would only last one generation.
Three years later, a reverend is chased and dragged underground by a strange assailant. Chuy (Alexander Goodwin), the "special" (possibly autistic) son of a subway shoe-shiner called Manny (Giancarlo Giannini), notices the killer making a clicking sound, and calls him "Mr. Funny Shoes", thinking it is the sound of his footsteps. A CDC officer named Josh (Josh Brolin) investigates the church, which is connected to the subway, and comes across some excrement containing wooden buttons.
Two kids later sell a "weird bug" from the subway to Susan. Only a baby, the specimen is already the size of a man's hand. After performing some tests, it turns out to be a member of the Judas breed. A creature then breaks into Susan's office to steal back the specimen. Susan and Peter, the kids in tow, check out the maintenance room where the specimen was found. However, a subway cop called Leonard (Charles S. Dutton) turns them back until they can get permits (Susan meets Chuy in this scene). Looking for more valuable specimens, the kids go down the tracks and find an egg sack the size of a man's chest (on the way, a homeless man mentions "Long John" and "Overcoat Slim", referring to the tall creatures which they think are a killer on the loose). However, a creature notices the children and kills them. Meanwhile, Chuy goes looking for "Funny Shoes" in the church, and gets captured by creatures. Susan, Peter, and their staff go examine another, larger, mutant Judas found at a water treatment plant. Susan's boss Dr. Gates (F. Murray Abraham) surmises that it is a highly evolved soldier, part of a colony.
At this point, the main characters all enter the subway, each for a different reason. Leonard, Peter, and Josh enter the abandoned tunnels through the maintenance room to investigate (later, they get separated and Josh is killed by a creature while trying to get to the surface). When Chuy turns up missing in the morning, Manny goes underground after him. While on the subway, Susan figures out from its pictures that the carapace of the treatment plant specimen fold up to look like a human face. Just then, the station goes partly dark, and Susan gets caught and taken away by one of the creatures, while nobody notices.
Before long, the four meet up and hide inside an abandoned train car. They capture and kill one of the creatures, but not before it slashes Leonard's leg, making him bleed profusely. Susan explains that the Judas' accelerated metabolism allowed it to reproduce and mutate very fast, despite not being able to biologically reproduce at all, and that they have evolved to mimic their human prey. The smell of Leonard's blood attracts more mimics, so Susan retrieves the dead one's smell gland and uses it on the windows and Leonard's wound to cover the smell. The group formulates a plan to get the car moving: Peter is sent to get the power back up, and Manny is sent to switch the tracks. Both cover their scent with the gland to blend in with the creatures. Manny finds Chuy imprisoned in a cage, and is killed by a male Judas, preventing the car from moving. Meanwhile, in the car, Susan projects that the mimics could spread out through the tunnels and take over the world. She also theorizes that the Judas creatures somehow breed a single fertile male for every colony. Since Manny has not returned, Susan decides to go after him. Leonard then starts bleeding uncontrollably. Meanwhile, Peter finds a dumbwaiter right next to the car which leads to the regular tracks above. Susan frees Chuy and comes across Peter, who leads the two to the dumbwaiter. Leonard sacrifices himself by leaving the car to distract the mimics from the other three.
As Chuy and Susan get into the dumbwaiter, the male Judas drops in. Peter stays behind, hoping to stop the mimics for good. He gets chased into a room which turns out to be the colony nest, where he discovers some gas pipes and an axe, and decides to blow up the nest. He smashes open the pipes with the axe, flooding the nest with gas. After his lighter fails, he strikes the ax against a metal grate, which sparks, ignites the gas, and destroys the nest. He escapes into a flooded tunnel under the grate just after sparking the gas.
Meanwhile, the male Judas climbs up the dumbwaiter and goes after Chuy. Susan lures it with her blood, and it is killed by an oncoming train. The two make it to the surface, and it turns out that Peter is also alive as they reunite.
- Mira Sorvino as Dr. Susan Tyler
- Jeremy Northam as Dr. Peter Mann
- Josh Brolin as Josh
- Charles S. Dutton as Officer Leonard Norton
- Giancarlo Giannini as Manny
- F. Murray Abraham as Dr. Gates
- Norman Reedus as Jeremy
- Julian Richings as Workman
- Doug Jones as Long John #2
- Alexander Goodwin as Chuy
- Alix Koromzay as Remy Panos
|This section requires expansion. (September 2015)|
Mimic received mixed to positive reviews from critics. It currently holds a 61% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3 1/2 stars saying "Del Toro is a director with a genuine visual sense, with a way of drawing us into his story and evoking the mood with the very look and texture of his shots. He takes the standard ingredients and presents them so effectively that "Mimic" makes the old seem new, fresh and scary."
According to Box Office Mojo, its domestic gross is $25,480,490; it did not beat its budget of $30 million.
Mimic was planned as one of three 30-minute short films intended to be shown together. It was expanded into a full-length movie, as was Impostor. The short film Alien Love Triangle remains a 30-minute short film, and has never been released. In 2010, del Toro revealed that he had been working on a director's cut of Mimic and that he is "happy" with it. The director's cut runs for 111 minutes, 6 minutes longer than the theatrical release. It had a store-specific release on September 6, 2011, with a wider release on September 27, 2011.
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