[Screen It]


(1997) (Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
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Smoking Tense Family
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Horror: An entomologist and several other people try to escape from a tunnel filled with human-sized mutant insects.
Susan Tyler (MIRA SORVINO) is an entomologist who, along with the help of Dr. Gates (F. MURRAY ABRAHAM), altered the DNA of insects to combat a disease that was killing off the city's children. Three years later, the bugs have mutated into monstrous creatures that mimic the appearance of humans for survival and now live in the N.Y. City subway system. After some boys bring a small creature to her, Susan knows something's up and enlists the help of her husband, Peter Mann (JEREMY NORTHAM) and his Center for Disease Control cohort, Josh (JOSH BROLIN), to figure out what's going on. Traveling deep into the subway tunnels with a reluctant cop, Leonard (CHARLES DUTTON), they not only find more creatures, but also the subway shoe shiner, Manny (GIANCARLO GIANNINI), who's looking for his autistic boy, Chuy (ALEXANDER GOODWIN). After discovering the man-sized creatures, the group must do what they can to survive while attempting to escape from the bugs' lair.
If they liked the "Alien" movies, last year's "The Relic," or are fans of scary monster movies in general, they will.
For terror/violence and language.
  • MIRA SORVINO plays a scientist who helped cure a disease, but after that acts like the typical horror movie victim, displaying no real traits other than occasional stupidity and survival instincts.
  • The rest of the cast members pretty much play the same kind of characters (their focus is on surviving).


    OUR TAKE: 3 out of 10
    If you're going to rip off a movie, you might as well steal from the best. That's exactly what "Mimic," the latest monster movie, does. Liberally yanking scenes and plot devices from the first two "Alien" films, this feature proves that imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, but usually makes for bad films. Not only are we subjected to people once again being hunted down in wet, dimly lit tunnels, but the film makers also have the gall to use the insect-based plot (a Queen and the idea that victims are captured and kept in the nest awaiting the egg sacks to burst open) that made those original films so interesting and terrifying. What this film forgets to "borrow" from those other movies is the effective pacing, suspense, and overall brilliant film making that Ridley Scott and James Cameron injected into those two far superior films. What's left behind here is just the shell of a movie, which like the hard casings on the included insects, might look impressive on the outside, but shows that little thought is going on inside. Of course the film is filled with characters from the city of Stupid where, as in nearly every other horror film, they walk through dimly lit corridors and reach into blind spots that tough, macho guys wouldn't dare place their hands. While we do have the advantage of superior position where we know what's going on and they don't (at least not completely) and this is used for generating suspense, it's still a lame plot device that we've grown tired of seeing. The cast is competent, but it's surprising to see Oscar winner Mira Sorvino featured in a production like this (Abraham also won an Oscar -- but that was thirteen years ago for "Amadeus"). Younger viewers who haven't seen truly scary monster films may think this is a highly suspenseful, original film. For those of us who've seen those earlier "Alien" films and others, however, this one comes across as just another pale, uninspired imitation. We give "Mimic" -- a title that in retrospect is quite appropriate -- a 3 out of 10.
    Younger kids will probably be scared silly by this (of course that depends on your children and their age) as it's one big nightmare-producing feature. Obviously there are many suspenseful moments, chases, and deaths that will upset those younger children. Teens, however, will probably think it's very cool, if not very scary to them. Beyond the frightening qualities and the blood and violence that occur from human/insect contact, the only other major objection is the language where 10+ "f" words and others are heard. Since many children will want to see this film, we strongly suggest that you check out the content to determine if it will be too intense for them and/or for you.

  • Susan and Peter drink champagne in their home.
  • Obviously there are lots of scenes with bugs, some real and some special effects. In addition, some are stepped on and others dissolve into a bubbly mess.
  • A boy has a bloody cut on his leg.
  • A gory and bloody looking section of one of the larger bugs is seen, as is a dead and bloody cat.
  • A man pulls a dead creature from the fridge and it's gooey and grimy looking and has worms crawling on it. They then dissect it, and more gross looking stuff is seen.
  • Susan sees a dead, partially rotted body in a tunnel.
  • Blood pours from a man's mouth after a creature catches and apparently kills him.
  • A creature slices open Leonard's leg and not only is there a great deal of bleeding, but we also see into the deep gash.
  • Susan digs into a dead creature's body and pulls out the grimy guts and rubs them on herself (the others do the same) to camouflage their human scents from the bugs.
  • Leonard leaves a bloody trail as we walks through a tunnel with his bleeding leg.
  • Susan's palm is bloody after slicing it open to attract a creature.
  • Susan and Peter break into a subway closet to investigate, and are caught by Leonard.
  • Leonard argues with Peter and Josh, and vice versa, but none of it's too bad.
  • One could say that Susan and the others' tampering with nature could have some of both, but they did so to save the sick children.
  • And of course the creatures have both, but they don't really count since they're not human.
  • Most of the movie is filled with scary suspense scenes with the characters poking around in or walking through dimly lit, wet tunnels where the creatures may be lurking. In addition, there are many scenes where people are chased, attacked, or killed by these creatures.
  • There is a shot of sick kids gasping for air that might disturb younger kids.
  • A man is chased by an unseen creature, he falls onto a window cleaning gondola, and then slides off and falls to his death. His body is then pulled into a storm drain.
  • Susan works in her office, a small creature gets loose, the lights go out, and a strange figure lurks about around her.
  • Peter and then Susan reach into a crevice searching for a dropped flashlight while the creatures are nearby.
  • Two boys find an egg pod and start to cut it open, but are attacked and killed.
  • Several creatures menacingly approach Chuy in an abandoned church.
  • A creature flies after Susan, chasing her and finally snags her from the ground.
  • Susan finds herself in the bugs' pantry and slowly tries to sneak out, while Josh tries to make his way through the tunnels, feeling that there's something out there. He then scrambles to get out of the tunnel, but a creature grabs him from behind.
  • The men try to pull Susan up through an opening as a creature is closing in on her.
  • The entire end of the movie involves the creatures attacking an old subway car that the cast is hiding in, and the humans' efforts to escape from the tunnels while the creatures close in on them.
  • Handgun: Repeatedly used by Leonard to fire at, wound, and occasionally kill some of the bugs.
  • Phrases: "Suck" and "Turd."
  • Susan and Peter break into a subway closet to investigate, and are caught by Leonard.
  • A man is startled when someone shows up at a window he's looking through.
  • A small creature suddenly bites Susan's hand.
  • A boy kicks a large plastic bag that's covering something, and it suddenly moves.
  • There is an extreme amount of both types of music in the film.
  • None.
  • 14 "f" words, 18 "s" words, 9 hells, 3 damns, 2 craps, 1 ass, and 3 uses each of "G- damn," "Oh God," and "Oh my God," 2 uses of "Jesus" and "Oh Jesus," and 1 use of "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • Susan shows just a little bit of cleavage while in a slip.
  • Susan and Peter await the results of a pregnancy test.
  • A man smokes on the street.
  • Manny smokes a cigar in several scenes and hands one to Peter in another.
  • Manny discovers that Chuy is missing and then searches for him.
  • Later, Chuy sees his father killed in front of him, but due to his autism seems to react more to the horror of the violence than to actually losing his father.
  • Bugs and whether your child will ever encounter any like these.
  • Tampering with nature -- in this case they altered the bugs' DNA which then mutated into something quite unexpected.
  • That if they're ever in a horror movie, not to walk through dimly lit tunnels with little lighting, or to stick their hands where they can't see.
  • A man falls to his death while trying to elude one of the creatures.
  • Two boys are killed by the creatures.
  • Leonard squashes a big bug under his boot.
  • Susan stabs a metal rod into one of the bugs.
  • A man is killed by the creatures.
  • Leonard shoots the creatures in several scenes.
  • A creature slices open Leonard's leg.
  • The creatures kill two more men.
  • A tremendous explosion kills many of the bugs, and also damages many cars on the street above as they're blown into the air and/or catch on fire.
  • Susan slices open her own palm to attract a creature that's then hit by a subway car.

  • Reviewed August 7, 1997

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