Mimic 3: Sentinel (2003)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Creature Film, Natural Horror  |   Run Time - 76 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jeremy Wheeler

After an abysmal second entry in the Mimic franchise, who would have guessed that the big brasses over at Dimension would have enlisted such a strong, young indie talent such as Soft for Digging's J.T. Petty to bring their newest bug epic to life? Coined "Rear Window with Giant Cockroaches," this tale is full of nods to the Hitchcock classic, but it's what Petty brings to the plate that infuses the film with what life it has. From the visceral opening shot to the stylized credit sequence, it's evident early on that this isn't just another cheap straight-to-video outing, but a sly tale whose twist on the mythos doesn't quite expand it as much as it grinds it to a halt for the sake of telling a much more pared-down character piece -- albeit with giant bugs. Admittedly, it isn't perfect -- nor is it the slam-bang action/horror fest that neither of its predecessors managed to achieve either (though Guillermo Del Toro came close with the first film) -- instead, Mimic: Sentinel's vision is distinct enough to warrant a few viewings, even if some of its other aspects leave little to be desired. For starters, Petty needs more time working with actors (his first film had less than a minute of dialogue), as he's still far too wet behind the ears to pull off blocking scenes and, in a few cases, controlling certain performances so they don't go over the top. Karl Geary's Rain Main-ish performance as Marvin could have used a bit more directorial wrangling, while his sister Rosy (Alexis Dziena) seems straight out of bad community theater half the time. Screen veterans Lance Henriksen and Amanda Plummer add class in small doses here and there, but are simply nice set dressing for the otherwise smaller-budgeted monster flick. Fright-wise, it's smart enough to keep most of the horror vague and in the end creepier as through the eyes of the voyeuristic main character. The bugs themselves are a decent mix of budget CG and practical man-in-suit effects (supplied by Dimension veteran Gary Tunnicliffe) and manage to deliver a few gruesome moments for the gore crowd to chew on. Sadly, despite Mimic: Sentinel's virtually explosive ending, it can't help but feel rushed by the breezy 76-minute running time and quick wrap-up afterwards. Still, for the third film in an already buried series to feel in any way fresh is surely something, and it might just be what Petty needed to move on to bigger and better things.