As glorious as the 90’s was for movies that were trying to break the monotony of things by being as vulgar as possible (mostly thanks to Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino), one genre that didn’t do so well in that decade was the Horror Genre. The 90’s was pretty much the death knell of the Horror Genre thanks to the public’s waning interest in Murderous Psychopaths that primarily hunted Horny Teenagers, and like the few that were released in this time period, MIMIC was one of those forgotten Horror Movies that only those in Cult Followings or the Horror Fanbase would remember with fondness and also something that deserves a lot more love than what it initially got in its heyday.
At its heart, MIMIC is an old-school Creature Feature Horror Movie where the ugly fucking monsters take center stage and in the movie’s case, it’s Giant Hobo Roaches that hog the spotlight when it comes to the scares. When it comes to Creature Features, leave it to director Guillermo Del Toro to come up with some of the freakiest shit ever imagined and that’s exactly what the Judas Breed of roaches are: big freaky fuckers that are basically Giant Hobo Roaches. As far as art design goes, MIMIC does an ace job of conjuring some really fucked up imagery with its bug antagonists and early CGI. Even if the audience never really gets a good look at the Giant Hobo Roaches because of the movie’s lighting and adherence to the Horror Movie logic that “less is more,” the Judas Breed roaches do their job of creeping up the atmosphere with a smidge of dread when they either hang from the ceiling or chill in the background under some brooding light while the main character bumbles their way into the dark like a dumbass.
Outside of that, there’s very little that can distinguish MIMIC from other 90’s Horror Movies mostly due to how the story is written. As a way of showing the genre’s maturity, Horror Movies in the 90’s rightfully decided to focus more on the Psychological Horrors instead of simple Gore Porn that was prevalent in the previous decades and the end products all had varying degrees of success with the more effective ones such as JACOB’S LADDER turning into Cult Classics. MIMIC is one of those 90’s Horror Movies that tried its best to be a story centered on humans trapped in a horrifying situation that no one could fully fathom (in this case, a subway system being plagued by Giant Hobo Roaches) that missed the mark because it kept taking a few steps back into Creature Feature Tendencies and 90’s Horror Cliches without improving on the mistakes made by the genres.
While it’s commendable that when compared to most other Creature Features and other Horror Movies of its time, MIMIC’s cast of people aren’t all that flat or unlikable to the point where you’d prefer they get eaten slowly by whatever ugly fucker’s on the movie poster but they are all remnants of the 90’s way of movie storytelling. From having the lone Female Character in the movie have a potential pregnancy as her major character arc to the Snarky Black Guy who’s responsible for all the major F-bombs in the movie to having Whimsical Kids that somehow act more like conmen than actual kids, majority of MIMIC’s human characters are nothing but Xerox Copies of the Stereotypes of the day. Granted, MIMIC did a good job of adding a little more depth and realism to each of its characters but at the end of the day, they’re just Slightly Modified Cliches that nobody will remember anytime soon.
Another praiseworthy thing MIMIC did with its cast was that it was able to have them all cross paths just in time for the movie’s climax in a very organic fashion. Unlike other Horror Movies that would waste ungodly amounts of time in empty attempts to make the audience empathize with the soon to be dead teenagers by having them engage in shenanigans or outright sex, MIMIC decides to use that ungodly amount of time prior to the climax by building up the mystery as to what the fuck is up with them bugs in the New York sewers. The story, though, was imbalanced with the first half being a great setup to some weird Sci-Fi mystery and the final half turning all that built-up tension over its fucking head by transforming into a generic Horror Movie Slaughterfest in a way that only the X-TREME 90’s generation could think of. To clarify that, it felt like seeing a great detective mystery conclude by having all the serial killers involved in the case or otherwise duke it out in a massive bloody Battle Royale for dibs on the Final Victim’s life. And then something explodes in a massive ball of napalm because the 90’s called and they demanded their fucking fireworks.
The scares themselves are, again, aged despite how unique and distinct the Giant Hobo Roaches can be. Most of the time, MIMIC resorts to Jump Scares and a lot of annoying Scary String Chords ripping through the supposedly tense scene just to remind the audience that they’re watching a fucking Horror Movie and considering the time period it was released in, MIMIC can’t exactly be faulted for being a product of its time. In terms of monster designs, MIMIC pulled it off perfectly by bringing to life the horrid human-cockroach hybrids onscreen but in terms of Horror Movie Scares, MIMIC did a passable job at best. At least everything related to those Giant Hobo Roaches was pretty fucking disgusting to look at, thanks to all that slime and sticky web shit all over the New York subways.
As it stands, MIMIC is a slightly improved take on the Generic 90’s Horror Movie but that’s about it. Its strongest aspect is found in its inspired art design that any fan of Horror or director Guillermo Del Toro (or both) should check out because this is where Del Toro basically revealed his movie fetishes to the world, and what a glorious slimy sight they are to behold. At its heart, MIMIC is a passable Creature Feature homage that was sadly released in a time when only Hipsters and Horror Movie Nuts appreciated the aforementioned Horror Subgenre but if you’re like me and are a proud member of those weirdos, MIMIC is something that should definitely be checked out. Just don’t expect to remember much about it outside of Giant Hobo Roaches.
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