starring Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northan, Josh Brolin, Charles Dutton and F. Murray Abraham
directed by Gulliermo del Toro
Based on a short story by Donald A. Wollheim and directed by Mexican director Guillermo del Toro, Mimic is a good, scary science fiction sort of movie, like a cross between The X-Files (because the scenes are almost always dark and rainy-wet) and Alien (because the film features an Alien-like insect creature).
The thing that distinguishes science fictionfrom science fantasy is that science fiction properly speaking is based on real science and is, therefore, somewhat plausible.
This is the case with Mimic. Although the story is really unsustainable it is still based on real science. We begin with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which is fighting a cockroach-spread disease in New York City labeled Stickler’s disease. (It’s a fictitious disease, but in this world of AIDS and Ebola, incurable Herpes, drug-resistant tuberculosis, new cancers and much worse nothing seems unimaginable).
As we all know, cockroaches are notoriously resilient. So to effectively deal with them the CDC artificially manufactures a new insect of its own using termite and manta DNA, to engage and destroy the disease-spreading vermin. Successfully, the New York Citycockroach population is effectively wiped out, thus ending the Stickler’s plague.
Called the “Judas Breed,” the bug is designed with a “suicide gene” that prevents it living more than 180 days in the lab (and keeps it infertile for the duration). However, as the scientists discover, once the insect is released into the world - “a much bigger laboratory” as F. Murray Abraham says - evolution takes over and, like Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.”
So, the Judas Breed survives its own suicide gene, and three years later it has evolved in New York’s underworld and comes back to the surface, where all the humans life, as a man-eating monster bug.
Why don’t humans have any warning? Why didn’t we discover the Judas Breed survivors before they evolved to a huge size like Godzilla? Because, like many insects in nature, they adapted to resemble, or mimic their greatest predator: Humankind. Flies can make themselves look like spiders, and the Judas Breed has evolved to resemble a human figure - at least vaguely, from a distance, and on dark and rainy streets, of which the film has an abundance.
As one female character said it early in the movie, “In this city you don’t know who anyone is anymore.” Ain’t that the truth?
In the world today where gene splitting, the human genome project, in vitro fertilization, test tube babies, genetic screening of fetuses, genetically altered foods, and more are all common and in the news every day, a movie like Mimic is not too far-fetched at all any more. Good visual effects. Good creatures and good fun.