Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Jean de Segonzac, J.T. Petty
Distributed by Lionsgate
Not so long ago Lionsgate gave Guillermo del Toro fans what they’d been craving for the better part of a decade and a half. No, not At the Mountains of Madness (one day!) Nope, they gave us the Director’s Cut of del Toro’s first studio film, Mimic. And while I adored the film in its original cut, the director’s preferred version is so much better with its extended sequences, altered ending, and overall…
Wait. Sorry. What’s that, Creepy? You already reviewed the Mimic Director’s Cut Blu-ray and all of its kickass bonus features? The ‘gate has since put out a Mimic Trilogy Blu-ray set? You want me to review that instead, specifically the two sequels?
No. Please, no. The third was okay, but that second flick was eye rape! I won’t watch it again, I can’t!
Why me? Okay, sure I’m the new guy, but… how’s that?
Oh. Right. The Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance review. Gotcha.
Okay. Fine. I’ll do it.
Sigh. Alrighty, Dreadful droogies, go check out Uncle Creepy’s review of the original Director’s Cut release of Mimic (included in this trilogy set), and then meet me back here for a bit o’ the old ultra-hatred.
Back? Okay! First up on the chopping block is Mimic 2, a loose sequel to the original film that was originally released in 2001. Sadly, none of the main characters from the original return for this installment, leaving lead duties to Remy (Alix Koromzay), a supporting character from the first film. Mimic 2 finds Remy, an entomologist/high-school teacher, being targeted by a surviving member of the giant mutant Judas Breed insect clan for…uh…breeding. Yep, the big, shapeshifting cockroach has a crush and is more than willing to take out what it deems to be its opposition (i.e., human dudes). As the bodies pile up around her, Remy becomes a murder suspect in an investigation headed up by Detective Blandy McBlanderson, even as the Judas draws ever closer. Will Remy survive? Will the giant bug figure out how to best bang a human chick? Will the detective ever come close to emoting? Will I be able stay awake and make it to the end credits?! Spoilers, but to answer that last question – barely.
Even by late ‘90s/early ‘00s Dimension direct-to-video standards, Mimic 2 is astonishingly piss-poor. I can easily imagine the likes of The Prophecy II and Hellraiser: Inferno poking fun at M2 in their Weinstein High School cafeteria for just not being good enough (meanwhile, the From Dusk Till Dawn sequels knife fight each other in the boys’ restroom for the affections of the Children of the Corn flicks).
Yikes, is this ever a bad film. Poorly shot, lazily directed, and populated with actors who don’t seem to be giving much of a damn, Mimic 2 shames its predecessor (either version of it) by failing to treat its concept with anything resembling respect. Hey, Guillermo del Toro may have made a giant bug movie, but he made the best frickin’ giant bug movie he could! I love that about del Toro: He may work with B-movie concepts, but he never looks down on the material or the fans who love it. Mimic 2, on the other hand, is a shallow, cynical cash-grab of a movie meant to squeeze a few dollars out of fans by riding on the coattails of the far better previous film.
Maybe if del Toro had been invited to give a bit of input, things might not have turned out so bad. Then again, considering that those dreadful From Dusk Till Dawn sequels had the direct involvement of series creators Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, maybe it’s best that GdT kept his distance.
Faring somewhat better is Mimic 3: Sentinel, a sequel that no one was asking for at this point in the franchise’s history. Essentially a buggy remake of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, M3 follows Marvin, a sickly shut-in whose only connection to the outside world is his trusty camera, which he uses to photograph (and spy) on his neighbors. He mostly focuses on his young sister (Alexis Dziena), who seems to be attracted to a local drug dealer, and a mysterious older man played by genre fave Lance Henriksen. Of course, this being a Mimic flick, Marvin’s lens eventually comes across a not quite human figure lurking about as people begin to mysteriously disappear in his neighborhood.
Directed by J.T. Petty, who was just starting to garner acclaim for his spooky first feature, Soft for Digging, Sentinel actually manages to be a pretty okay little monster flick. The actors all do a decent enough job, and the Rear Window conceit was a genius way to up the tension while keeping the costs down on this sequel. Unfortunately, the exterior setting is hardly ever convincing as New York (it was lensed in Romania), the second act drags a bit, and the climactic battle between man, creature, and refrigerator isn’t nearly as compelling or intense as it should be. Still, once your expectations have been so significantly lowered by the previous film, it’s hard to find too much fault with something that is merely so-so.
The image on each film varies, though this is likely the best either film will ever look. Mimic 2 was always an ugly looking film to begin with. Though a few scenes do pop, the picture is mostly a dim, grainy mess with dull colors. But hey! It is quite sharp, though. Mimic 3 looks considerably better but still pales in comparison to the original film. The audio is serviceable on each, neither terrible nor as dynamic as the sound work done on the original film. It gets the job done, basically.
The sequels, much like the original film, each have a good amount of bonus features to accompany them. Mimic 2 has a twenty-minute behind-the-scenes featurette called “5 Days of Mimic 2”, a featurette on the sound design, and a handful of deleted scenes. Mimic 3 has an audio commentary with Petty, a behind-the-scenes featurette, and a set of cast auditions.
Funny thing, those auditions. While the male actors essentially just deliver their lines in character to the off-camera casting director, the two actresses (Dziena and Lost’s Rebecca Mader) are made to stand, then turn from side to side, showing their bodies off in profile. Dziena seems a bit put off by this, while Mader actually seems somewhat pissed while doing so. I’m amazed these moments made it onto the disc.
So, look here: If you already own the Director’s Cut of Mimic on Blu-ray, there’s really no need to pick this set up. You can live without it. But! If you don’t already own the DC, and considering that the prices of that disc and this set are essentially the same…then there’s still really no need to pick this set up. You can live without it. Just buy the Director’s Cut instead.
But! If you don’t already own the Mimic DC on Blu and you’re a masochistic insomniac, then you might want to go ahead and pick up the Mimic Trilogy.
Mimic 3: Sentinel
4 out of 5
1 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
4 out of 5