Mimic: The Director's Cut - Blu-ray Review

'the second half descends into a 'well we've come this far, we better have some horror' collection of sieges, standoffs, half-hearted group-dynamics-gone-sour and large amounts of time spent messing around underground'

Aesthetically, narratively and, erm, hokumily, Mimic looks very much like the not-too distant cousin of fellow 1997 creature-feature The Relic, albeit with a less compelling plot, worse acting and, in this form, an even longer running length. Those that have experienced The Relic will know that comparisons like these are not exactly designed to paint Mimic as any sort of masterpiece.

Director Guillermo Del Toro reports that the main changes to this newly-released Director's Cut version (as opposed to the studio-influenced original) consisted of removing anything shot by the second unit and re-introducing several small plot strands and scenes that sought to tie the film to religious ideas and iconography. It's difficult to understand why he bothered. In the extras, Del Toro talks of 'the film that got away' and of how it is a prime example of what happens when 'everything that can go wrong does'. On that basis, did he really expect a small amount of scenes to change Mimic from a schlocky, B-movie mess into something approaching a decent film? Perhaps if he had been able to include his original ending (mentioned in the extras but never filmed), Mimic could have been elevated but on the basis of what's shown here, there was never any saving it.

The hokum begins when doctors Tyler (Mira Sorvino) and Mann (Jeremy Northam) release a new breed of super-bug into the New York sewers (always a bad idea) in order to kill a strain of cockroach that's been infecting children across the city. The first half develops from there as a sort of 'adult guilt' drama, with the doctors and, to an extent, the city, slowly coming to terms with the fact that the newly altered bug population might not have been the best thing for their kids in the long run. It's a fairly effective first half, albeit plodding in its delivery, which, like The Relic, keeps its dubiously rendered monsters well hidden.

The second half descends (literally) into a 'well we've come this far, we better have some horror' collection of sieges, standoffs, half-hearted group-dynamics-gone-sour and large amounts of time spent messing around underground. It's too long, introduces one too many characters we don't care about (take your pick from Josh Brolin or Charles S. Dutton) and never gets effectively scary. Sorvino is effective in the lead and believable as both an intelligent doctor and a damsel in distress but Northam has never been suited to this sort of thing and goes out of his way to prove so. Del Toro fans will get an insight into his creative process but for everyone else there's little here to warrant revisiting a film which isn't even the best knowingly-bad monster film of 1997.




Mimic: The Director's Cut is out on Blu-ray on 31st October 2011.

Look further...

'an entertaining and fun monster film that has some terrific scares and a genuine sense of style' - Top 10 Films, 3/5

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