Saturday, October 8, 2022

REVIEW: Mimic (live action movie)

Mimic is a 1997 sci-fi horror movie. I bought my copy brand new.

This review includes slight spoilers.


New York City has spent the past couple years battling a deadly disease that particularly affects children and that is spread by cockroaches. Since no one has been able to develop a cure or vaccine for the disease, Dr. Peter Mann, deputy director of the CDC, asks entomologist Dr. Susan Tyler to help him eradicate the disease at its source. Susan has genetically engineered an insect called "the Judas breed," which is uniquely designed to kill cockroaches. She releases these insects in the city, where they successfully accomplish their task. They've been designed to be infertile and die within a few months, so as to not cause any new problems.

Three years later, Susan and Peter are a married couple. When Susan's insect hunters find what appears to be a juvenile "Judas breed," she realizes that her creation has somehow survived. As she, Peter, and a reluctant police officer attempt to find the insects' breeding site, a shoe shiner named Manny searches for Chuy, the young autistic boy he's raising.

I came across this while looking through lists of horror movies that I might enjoy watching/rewatching. I was pretty sure I'd seen it before but couldn't remember much about it. After watching it, I'm still not sure if I'd actually seen it before, because none of the scenes were very familiar.

The insect designs were great, and the part where the characters used the insects' own scent glands to hide themselves was clever and, for me at least, fairly believable. That said, a lot of the science didn't strike me as being very realistic. The disease that started the whole thing off somehow spent 2 years localized in New York City, without spreading to the rest of the country, and was apparently only spread by cockroach-to-human contact, not human-to-human, or it wouldn't have been that easily eradicated. (By the way, the introduction felt very weird to watch, after the past few years of pandemic.) After the insects spent an unknown amount of time evolving and spreading underneath New York City, it was tough to believe that only now, after Susan finally learned of their existence, was there a real danger of them spreading to other areas of the country.

In terms of its messages, this movie reminded me strongly of Jurassic Park. First, there was "humans using science in order to play God muck things up because they're messing with forces they don't entirely understand." Then there was "Life finds a way."

How did Chuy survive this movie? I have no idea. Yes, he could imitate the insects' sounds, but he couldn't imitate their scent. Considering what we learned later in the movie, he absolutely should have died. It's not even that this movie was averse to killing children - a couple other children did, indeed, get eaten.

If you want a "dangers of science" sci-fi horror movie, this isn't a bad choice, but Jurassic Park is definitely better.

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