One solid idea exists in Mimic 3. Late in the film, Lance Henriksen -in a role more akin to a cameo- reveals the bugs have won. Humanity is doomed by their own creation, the Judas breed of genetically engineered insects. It’s a revelation, shocking in that this film sat on the idea for 60-minutes without doing anything of merit.
In its spare time, which isn’t much at a sluggish 76-minutes, Mimic 3 peers through camera lenses, takes pictures of irrelevant characters, and lets its lead character choke. He’s a survivor of Strickler’s disease, the epidemic that spawned the need for the Judas bugs. Marvin (Karl Greary) feels like an excuse to confine the film to a bedroom, stricken with the after effects including an allergic reaction to, well, everything. The room is also a place where flat studio lighting and limited set décor can trim the budget. With such contained space, there’s only room for a handful of camera set ups.
Edits and scene set ups are amateurish, director J.T. Petty coming off his first student film back in 2003, so it’s hard to blame him for the creaky structure. Fade to blacks come back in the camera view, the endlessly recycled looping shot pointing to characters who are never given a line of dialogue. If it’s not the camera, it’s Alexis Dziena bursting in just because to show off cleavage, generating dry conversation without any establishment of character. Replacing the actors with bricks who speak in subtitles would have few ill effects… other than the fact that they would be bricks.
You’re probably wondering if the bugs factor into this, and they do however loosely. They gnaw on a few victims, slink into the shadows, and drain the film of energy it already doesn’t have. Until the closing moments, where a dual-insect attack ensues, the film could survive without them. Characters are immense dolts, police refuse to believe a missing person is murdered, and the idea of staying on the phone with 911 is a lost art in Mimic 3. No wonder the bugs are taking over. Maybe it is time.
Mimic was spawned from a short story by Donald A. Wollheim. Some of that is captured here, the disabled person looking out the window at the shadowed men. The rest? Not so much. That glimmer of hope that Mimic 3 is exploring a new angle in a franchise that didn’t even need a sequel in the first place is dashed in the first five minutes. It’s hard to bore an audience when you’re struggling to break feature length.
This is the only feature in the trilogy not to adopt the lighting scheme that identified the look, feel, and vibe set up by Del Toro. Instead, Mimic 3 is dry, devoid of any saturation and fitted with sickly flesh tones. Pale primaries are allowed no life, and the sterile rooms are purposefully given an overcast-like paint job.
What does remain are the deep shadows. Those few moments where the film is allowed to creep around outside produce substantial depth, the type the first sequel failed to generate. The Mimic bugs are kept lurking as silhouettes, crush allowing them the courtesy of night. If atmosphere is generated anywhere in this film, it’s those that push the bugs in the back and a main character in the foreground. That doesn’t function without workmanlike black levels.
Mimic 3 probably wasn’t given the benefit of a high grade film stock, destined for video and not theatrical screens. Whatever the case, the grain structure is resolved by a highly maintained AVC encode. The bitrate coasts along well above the 30 mark, this despite sharing disc space with Mimic 2. The brief length doesn’t hurt.
Stylistically, there’s nothing detrimental in the color scheme, the black crush, or the grain. Mimic 3 squanders detail though. Lionsgate seems to care as much about the film as the general public (i.e, not at all), the scan appearing dated and low res. Medium shots carry a filtered, smoothed over look, and halos can creep in softly on high contrast edges. Close-ups are meager, and age only makes visual effect shots more explicitly noticeable, weaker resolution scan or not.
There’s not much this DTS-HD make over can do for such sparse sound design. Beyond some traveling dialogue, there’s nowhere for it go until the (brief) action finds a mark. There’s the occasional city effect that will bleed through the walls, say an elevated train that is unseen but heard. Conversations elsewhere in the apartment will push into the rears too if they reach a point considered loud enough.
When the moment comes to shine, there’s still not much going on. A shotgun blast or two will finally add some pizazz, while an explosion muffles the bass but tracks the debris falling. That’s something. Behind almost the entire film is an agonizing score, a repetitious violin theme that drones on incessantly and is unavoidable.
Director J.T. Petty delivers a commentary track for his studio effort, and continues on with his thoughts in a behind-the-scenes featurette. Five cast auditions are fun for their awkwardness.
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