1990s Sci-Fi Horror Flop Saved By Award-Winning Director, Stream Right Now Without Netflix

By Douglas Helm | Published

Guillermo del Toro immediately made his creative style apparent in his feature debut Cronos, but his film Mimic, released a few years later, shouldn’t be overlooked. The sci-fi horror may not have made a lot of money, but it’s distinctly del Toro, and it ends up being a decent entry into his filmography despite studio meddling. Best of all, you can check it out for free right now on the Pluto TV streaming service.

An Evil Cockroach Infestation

Mimic takes place in a version of New York City that is facing a dangerous cockroach infestation, which is solved by biologist Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino) and her research team. They introduce a species of Judas bugs that can mimic the roaches, enter their habitats, and prey on them. The plan works until the bugs begin evolving to take on much bigger prey – the humans of New York City.

An A-List Cast

Mimic has many of the hallmarks of del Toro’s work, such as bugs and a dark tone. Del Toro directed the film from a script he wrote with Matthew Robbins based on the Donald A Wollheim short story of the same name. Along with Mira Sorvino, the film starred Jeremy Northam, Josh Brolin, Charles S. Dutton, Giancarlo Giannini, and F. Murray Abraham.

A Horrible Experience For Del Toro

Although Mimic is a solid entry to del Toro’s filmography, it sounds like the movie was pretty miserable to make for the legendary director. Reports say there was a lot of studio meddling from the infamous Miramax boss, Harvey Weinstein. After Weinstein saw early footage of the film, he apparently feuded with del Toro about the tone of the film and said it wasn’t scary enough.

Mira Sorvino Saved The Film

Another report says that Weinstein got so mad over the film that he came to set and tried to instruct del Toro on how to direct a movie, along with trying to get him fired from the film later. Mira Sorvino reportedly intervened, and del Toro stayed on the project, though Weinstein withheld the final cut from the director. Del Toro later went on to say, “The only time I have experienced bad behavior, and it remains one of the worst experiences of my life, was in 1997 when I did Mimic for Miramax.”

A Box Office Flop

The studio meddling was reflected in the original reviews of Mimic, as people noted that del Toro’s work with a studio film didn’t allow his unique style to shine as much. The film was also a financial flop, only making around $25 million against its budget of $30 million. Of course, del Toro doesn’t have to deal with this kind of meddling anymore, but it would have been nice if he had complete creative control of the theatrical release. 

The Director’s Cut

While del Toro didn’t get to have the final cut on Mimic, he did eventually get to have his say in the form of a director’s cut that was released years later, in 2011. The director’s cut of the film added six minutes to the theatrical release, along with some changes. If you want to check out the film for yourself, you can watch it on Pluto for free or on VOD platforms like Apple TV.