Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Guillermo del Toro|
by Donald A. Wollheim
|Music by||Marco Beltrami|
|Edited by||Patrick Lussier|
|Distributed by||Miramax Films|
|Box office||$25.5 million|
Mimic is a 1997 American science fiction horror film co-written and directed by Guillermo del Toro based on Donald A. Wollheim's short story of the same name, and starring Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Josh Brolin, Charles S. Dutton, Giancarlo Giannini, and F. Murray Abraham.
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 $25.5 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 uses genetic engineering to create what her colleague (and husband) Peter Mann and she call the Judas breed, a large insect that releases an enzyme which causes the roaches metabolism to speed up and starve themselves to death. It successfully kills off the disease. 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. The only witness is Chuy, the "special" ward of an immigrant subway shoe-shiner named Manny. Two kids later sell a "weird bug" from the subway to Susan, which she performs test on, and realises is part of the Judas breed. Looking for more valuable specimens, the kids go down the tracks where they find a large egg sac and are then killed. Chuy also enters the church to find "Mr. Funny Shoes" and is abducted. Peter, CDC officer Josh and subway cop Leonard enter the maintenance tunnels to investigate but Peter and Leonard get separated from Josh, who is then killed trying to find his way back up. Susan encounters what appears to be a shadowy man in a trench coat on a train platform. As she approaches, it unfolds into an insect the size of a human being which has adapted to appear human. The creature abducts Susan and carries her into the tunnels. Manny also enters the tunnels in search of Chuy and comes across Susan, whom he rescues along with Peter and Leonard, before they barricade themselves in a train car.
Susan surmises that the Judas' accelerated metabolism has allowed it to reproduce and that they have evolved to mimic their human prey. The group formulates a plan to get the car moving: Peter will switch the power on, and Manny will switch the tracks. Susan projects that the Judas will spread throughout the tunnels unless they are able to kill the single fertile male. Manny finds Chuy but is killed by the male Judas, so Susan goes in search of him but finds only Chuy. Leonard's injured leg starts bleeding heavily, so he causes a distraction from the others, and is killed. Peter finds a dumbwaiter and puts Susan and Chuy in it, but stays behind to destroy the breed for good. He gets chased into a room where hundreds are nesting, and blows them all up by setting fire to a loose gas pipe, before diving underwater to safety.
The male Judas escapes the blast and goes after Chuy but is distracted by Susan, who has it chase her into the path of an oncoming train where the male Judas is killed by the train. The two make it to the surface, where they are reunited with Peter, who Susan had assumed died in the blast.
- 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
The character of Manny was originally written by del Toro for one of his favorite actors, Argentinian Federico Luppi, whom he directed in Cronos. However, Luppi's English pronunciation was not good enough for the film, so del Toro chose Giancarlo Giannini instead; in a 2013 interview del Toro confirmed the story and stated that what he misses the most about working in Spanish language is the possibility of directing Luppi, for whom del Toro professes the utmost admiration.
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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