The leads lack chemistry & are unconvincing; spouting some of the worst dialog written as they stumble through a series of non-events only there to necessitate narrative conflict. It doesn't really get interesting until the characters reach the sewers & the wider ensemble takes precedence, but even this is undermined by an implausible 3rd act. Even in its reconstructed form, the scars of studio interference run deep.
The Del Toro film that even Del Toro himself has conflicted feelings about, but not lacking at all in his craft. It's easy to say that this was simply a career move, or a way of lending his look and lapsed-Catholic-horror-buff atmosphere to a Hollywood project that would otherwise be negligible. But that look and atmosphere work, and I had more fun with it than Crimson Peak, which felt like he had the utmost control.
Mimic is dually del Toro's creepiest film and his most commercial. More in the realm of standard horror than his other work-- it aims to scare, not so much to dramatically emote-- the character relationships are secondary. That would be fine, but its horror-action is sunk some of the time with bad situational/humor dialogue. Del Toro is best when he wears his heart on his sleeve, yet Mimic has it leashed.
Joins the short list of flawed but interesting films from otherwise talented filmmakers that aren't made any better by their long-delayed director's cuts (see also: Clive Barker's "Nightbreed"). The visual aesthetics here are superlative, but the script mashes together ideas from "Alien" and Cronenberg's "The Fly," only without the compelling characters or emotional stakes. Catholic imagery will only get you so far.
MIMIC was bastardized by the studio and del Toro almost swore off filmmaking. But somehow a director's cut emerged (after the success of PAN'S LABYRINTH) and del Toro went on to establish himself as a successful Hollywood director. MIMIC's limitations as strict genre film forced him to work exclusively on creating mood (gorgeous sets, lighting, creatures) transforming the damp, dark underground into an awful horror.
1 1/2 out of 5 stars. Awful! None of Guillermo Del Toro's visual charm is really present here. Aside from Mira Sorvino's 90s cuteness the cast is weak but Josh Brolin and a Norman Reedus scene helped get me through some bad CGI and a lot of unexplained horseshit. The only good thing about Mimic is that it didn't manage to kill Del Toro's career.
At his 2011 TIFF talk, Del Toro described this first brush with American studios as a demoralizing experience that very nearly killed his drive to make films; it also coincided with the kidnapping of his father. While those things have impacted the film, there are still some uniquely creepy Del Toro touches, even if you're not entomophobic. He gleefully broke two taboos in one scene: killing off children and a dog.
Flawed, but like Alien 3, another studio debut from an uncanny artist (and with another sturdy performance from Charles Dutton, now that I think of it), to me it's fascinating and shows crazy potential that's since blossomed. I still really like this movie but I get that it's not what it could be.