Dimension Films // 2003 // 80 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // November 14th, 2003
Terror has been reinvented.
Those nutty mutant Judas cockroaches are back to wreck havoc in Mimic 3: Sentinel. Everyone thought that the roaches spreading the dreaded Strickland disease were eradicated. Of course, anyone who watches horror movies know they were wrong -- studio executives are like gods in the movie world, and if they say they're coming back, they're coming back with a vengeance. This time around we follow the adventures of Marvin (Karl Geary), a Stickland survivor who, along with being allergic to just about everything, spends most of his days inside his bedroom watching the building across the street and the pedestrians through his trusty camera lens. But Marvin's photogenic serenity is shattered when he and his sister, Rosy (Alexis Dziena), witness a murder in one of the alleyways -- and it appears to have been committed by something that isn't human! Now the race is on to find out who -- or what -- is behind the grisly murders in Marvin's building. Get ready for terror that just won't die with Mimic 3: Sentinel!
I can tell you exactly why I enjoyed Mimic 3: Sentinel: I had such low expectations that the film rose above my assumptions of banality. I anticipated another hum-drum sequel filled with cheap effects and a boring storyline. Instead, I found myself far more engrossed than I deserved to be -- any horror title with the number "3" after it usually means it's going to be downright horrible. Now, lest you think my feelings about Mimic 3 are that it's the Second Coming, let me say that the film isn't an earth shattering installment in American cinema. This is, after all, a movie about giant mutant cockroaches that are trying to take over the world. Even the talents of Alfred Hitchcock and Steven Spielberg combined couldn't take that premise and make it into a masterful horror flick. What Mimic 3 does do is provide a nice homage to a classic thriller (Rear Window) while keeping the viewer guessing almost every step of the way. Karl Geary gives a better-than-average performance as Marvin, a twitchy fellow who's been confined to his house due to the devastating effects of Strickland's disease. There are other periphery characters (including newcomer Alexis Dziena as Marvin's annoying sister), but the bulk of this film belongs to Marvin and his trained eye. Many scenes are shot from the viewpoint of the camera, an intriguing (if unoriginal) idea that gets stale by the last third of the movie. As for the Judas cockroaches, they look good in some scenes and cheesy in others. Because this is a straight-to-DVD title, the effects budget was most likely at an all-time low. However, if the roaches are a letdown, at least the build-up worked better than most fare of this nature. If I have any major complaint, it's that the film veers more into "thriller" territory than it does visceral horror -- if you're going to make a movie about giant drooling insects, then show them in all their nasty glory. Otherwise, Mimic 3 is one of the better horror sequels in the past few years.
Mimic 3: Sentinel is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. All in all, this is a very fine looking transfer considering this is a low budget straight-to-DVD horror sequel. The colors (lots of blues and blacks) are all evenly rendered without major bleeding in the image. There is a slight amount of edge halo in the transfer, though it's never overly intrusive to the viewing. Fans of the series will be happy to see this film in its original aspect ratio. The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English. Much like the video presentation, this is good but not great -- a few of the surround sounds aren't as discrete as one might hope (especially when one character leaves into the back of the soundstage). There are a few well-placed directional effects, along with clear dialogue, music, and effects. Also included on this disc are English subtitles and closed captions.
Dimension has included a few meaty extra features on this disc. Starting things off is a commentary by director J.T. Petty. Petty has a lot to say about this film, his first major feature length movie, and is a mellow, chatty guy who doles out a fair amount of information on the production, cast, and special effects. A 15-minute featurette on the making of the film offers viewers a humorous glimpse into how this film came to be (Petty is especially funny when discussing the typical Hollywood pitch involving Rear Window and giant mutant cockroaches). Finally, there a few roughly videotaped cast auditions for actors Alexis Dziena, Karl Geary, Rebecca Mader, Keith Robinson, and John Kapelos, plus an extended trailer for other Dimension titles.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Dimension Films
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Commentary by Director J.T. Petty
* Making-Of Featurette
* Cast Auditions
* Dimension Trailer