Sci-Fi Horror Classic On Streaming Is A Forgotten Gem That Spawned A Trilogy

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Mimic (1997)

The 1997 sci-fi horror film Mimic is currently streaming on Paramount+. Directed by Guillermo del Toro from a script he co-wrote with Matthew Robbins, the movie is based on Donald A. Wollheim’s short story of the same name. It stars Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Josh Brolin, Charles S. Dutton, Giancarlo Giannini and F. Murray Abraham.

Known as “Mimics,” these mutated insects grow to monstrous proportions and are capable of disguising themselves as humans.

Mimic is set in New York City, where a deadly epidemic caused by cockroaches is spreading among children. To solve the problem, Doctor Susan Tyler (Mira Sorvino), an entomologist, and her husband, Doctor Peter Mann (Jeremy Northam), a geneticist, develop a new species of insect called the “Judas breed.”

These genetically engineered insects are designed to eradicate cockroaches by mimicking their natural predators and killing them. However, three years later, the Judas breed has evolved and started mimicking humans. Known as “Mimics,” these mutated insects grow to monstrous proportions and are capable of disguising themselves as humans.

Mira Sorvino as Dr. Tyler in Mimic

Doctor Tyler teams up with subway cop Josh (Josh Brolin) and MTA worker Manny (Giancarlo Giannini) to stop the deadly creatures before they overrun the city and cause more havoc. Guillermo del Toro’s original cut of Mimic was significantly longer than its final 106-minute runtime, but the studio wanted edits and reshoots, leading to a shorter theatrical version.

Known for his love of creatures and monsters, the film set the tone for del Toro’s future in the horror/fantasy genre.

Del Toro released his director’s cut in 2011, which was closer to his original vision. Although Mimic faced several production challenges, including disputes between the director and the studio, del Toro has expressed his appreciation for the experience and the opportunity it gave him in Hollywood. Known for his love of creatures and monsters, the film set the tone for del Toro’s future in the horror/fantasy genre.

Mimic received mixed to positive reviews from viewers and critics. Some praised Guillermo del Toro’s direction and the film’s creepy atmosphere, while others found fault with the pacing and character development. The film currently holds a 64 percent critics score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, alongside a 37 percent audience score.

Mimic Spawns A Trilogy

At the box office, Mimic earned around $25.5 million domestically and $18.5 million internationally, making it a modest financial success. While it didn’t become a blockbuster, it resulted in two sequels, Mimic 2 in 2001 and Mimic 3: Sentinel in 2003. Released several years after the original, these films had varying degrees of success critically and at the box office.

Mimic 2 is a direct sequel to the original film, although it takes place several years later. The story centers on a high school science teacher named Remi Panos (Alix Koromzay), who becomes suspicious when several people in her neighborhood start disappearing. She believes that the Judas breed insects, which were thought to be eradicated, have returned.

With the help of a detective (Bruno Campos), she investigates the resurgence of the Mimics and attempts to stop them from spreading again. Mimic 2 received limited theatrical screenings and generally negative reviews from critics and viewers. It lacked the budget and star power of the original film and was criticized for its lower production values and weaker storytelling.

Mimic 3: Sentinel takes a slightly different approach from the previous films in the series. The story is set in an apartment building where a character named Marvin (Karl Geary) believes that the Mimics have infiltrated the building and are disguising themselves as the residents. He becomes increasingly paranoid and tries to convince others of the threat.

Mimic (1997)

The film is presented as a found-footage-style thriller, with Marvin using a video camera to document his suspicions and experiences. Mimic 3: Sentinel also had a limited theatrical release and received mixed reviews. Some viewers and critics appreciated the change in tone and style compared to the previous entries in the series. Others found it to be a somewhat unconventional and divisive addition.

The two sequels to the original Mimic film were not directed by Guillermo del Toro. Jean de Segonzac, primarily known for his work in television, having directed episodes of Law & Order, took the helm on Mimic 2. Mimic 3: Sentinel was directed by J.T. Petty, a filmmaker known for his work in the horror genre and in video games.

As such, the Mimic franchise is primarily remembered for its original film’s creature design and for launching Guillermo del Toro’s Hollywood career. While it has a small cult following, its legacy is not as substantial or widespread as other iconic horror franchises. Fans can check out the 1997 movie, currently streaming on Paramount+.