Mimic: Sentinel (2003)

mimic3What happens when you have a film franchise that’s lacking in almost everything required of a good film? You use a different approach. The “Mimic” series has been nothing but abysmal, and it was only a matter of time before we had a film in the series that tried it from a different perspective. Anyone who sees this will know this is a pure rip off of “Sisters,” front and back. The attempted psychoses, the plot twists, our nosy neighbor and his inevitable discovery. Petty rips shamelessly from the film, and while I came to accept it, it also works against the film’s quality in which the film’s attempted complexities come off as pure conceit and desperate. The film lacks anything nearing an esoteric framework, especially since it involves a giant bug.

Meanwhile, Petty anxiously tries to keep the film up to the promises, but there’s only so much that can be done with the story here. Which explains why it’s very little over an hour, because with its limited scenery, only so much is done, and there’s only so much time before the events become tedious and all the characters are off. Another major problem was the sub-plot involving Plummer’s odd attraction to the local police officer who proceeds to respond to a murder call they make, and then gets into bed with her. Not only is the sub-plot incredibly stupid and flat, but it’s pointless padding that manages to add nothing to the tension or suspense at all. In the “Sisters” angles, “Sentinel” really uses the same set-up except with a different catch. An invalid who really can’t step out too far from his house, experiences the rise of a predator in his neighborhood. It’s one of those damn bugs from the earlier movies, of course.

And then Petty goes all out with our character experiencing these events and murders at the hands of the mimic bug through his camera, and our character Marvin’s attempts to prove he witnessed these events. I was ready to peg this as a “Rear Window” rip-off, but in actuality, it’s a rip off of “Sisters,” but that’s not something I’m holding against it, really. It’s not a great film, and it’s not something I’d see again, but when compared to the dull as a doornail “Mimic,” and the painfully stupid “Mimic 2,” this really does rise up above the muck. And it helps that the supporting players are Amanda Plummer who is entertaining as Marvin’s overbearing mother. She’s memorable as the leader of the house who is over protective of Marvin, but doesn’t even flinch at the prospect of her daughter dating a drug dealer. Plummer is great, and hell, she’s a win for me thanks to “Pulp Fiction.” And of course, there’s Alexis Dziena who is great tension relief as the sexy stoner daughter who pulls the act off well.

She’s quite humorous without taking away the dread from the film, and it helps too that she’s a sex kitten, pure and simple. Any doubts about that should be drawn to “Broken Flowers.” Petty’s new take on the franchise is pretty good, and I loved the brief stints of CGI that were obvious, but still pretty sleek in their brevity. Petty’s skills are not in doubt here, as he paces the film well enough and draws out enough characters to root for and dislike. Alexis, be sure to e-mail me and I’ll send you over my phone number, you are a cutey and a half. But I digress, “Mimic: Sentinel” is a tolerable and entertaining sequel to an abysmal franchise that rips from “Sisters,” shamelessly, but works because of the great direction, and competent pacing. I’ll never see it again, but I’d recommend it.