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Mimesis (2011)

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 2/12/2013

All Ratings out of
Movie: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/10/2013

The definition of "public domain", according to Wikipedia, pertains to those works whose intellectual property rights have expired, been forfeited, or are inapplicable. When it comes to movies, this means that anyone can broadcast or reproduce the film in question without have to pay rights to anyone. Normally, we see this exercised through home video releases, especially of older movies. Anyone can release these movies on DVD and they don't have to share the money with anyone. (And the transfers usually look horrible.) The makers of Mimesis may not have created a classic movie, but they must get praise for taking the idea of a public domain movie and doing something different with it.

As Mimesis opens, we join Russell (Taylor Piedmonte) and Duane (Allen Maldonado) at a horror movie convention. Russell is a huge fan of scary movies and he's dragged Duane, who thinks it's all silly, to the con. At a break, they meet Judith (Lauren Mae Shafer), who invites them a party, which is taking place at an old farm. At the party, Russell and Duane have some drinks and recognize some other people from the convention. Russell suddenly awakens in a cemetery. He's wearing an odd suit and tie, and he's with a girl named Karen (Jana Thompson), whom he doesn't know. They are attacked by a zombie and flee to a nearby house. Duane comes to in a pickup truck parked outside of the house and runs inside as well. There, he meets Keith (David G.B. Brown), Karl (Gavin Grazer), and some others. Keith was at the convention and party as well, and taking in the zombies outside, the makeup of the group, and everyone's clothing, it doesn't take him long to realize that someone as placed them inside of the movie Night of the Living Dead. The events which take place verify his theory. Keith and Duane decide that the night doesn't have to follow the movie and devise a plan to escape.

Mimesis takes the notion of acting out ones favorite movie (we've all done it) to new heights. Other movies have paid homage to classic films and many have flat-out copied these movies, but few use the structure of an old film as the blueprint for a new story. It's clear that Writer/Director Douglas Schulze and Co-Writer Joshua Wagner are fans of Night of the Living Dead, as they've woven many details into the movie which will be familiar to those who know Romero's classic. (Although some of it does get a little too "fanboy" at times.) The most clever nod to the older movie are the clothes in which the characters find themselves and the fact that they physically match the actors from the original. The movie could have kept its central premise and simply had a group of random characters who wear their street clothes, but these touches show that care can be put into a low-budget movie.

When viewed as a mystery, the first half of the film is somewhat effective. I had read a synopsis of the movie, but to be honest, it really didn't make any sense. Seeing the story unfold on-screen is much more effective and we are right there with the characters wondering what in the world is going on. The first act contains a surprising death and we watch as the characters attempt to figure out what is happening and a way to escape. The movie first introduces some of the escape ideas seen in Night of the Living Dead and then allows the characters to come up with some new ones.

The issues with Mimesis is that it can't maintain its original level of tension. There are some minor twists in the second half of the film, but let's face it, they can't compare to the people waking up to find themselves in a real-life version of Night of the Living Dead. The movie really loses steam once we learn what is really happening. Well, we sort of learn what is really happening. We are shown who is behind the event, but motive is left vague and the plotters seem to ignore anything like reality or the law. Also, how and why the zombies are able to perpetrate the amount of violence which they do doesn't make much sense in the end. (When you see the first kill, you'll understand my concern.) The ending is somewhat happy, certainly happier than that of Night of the Living Dead, but it's also abrupt and feels incomplete. The movie also makes the mistake at times of assuming that the viewer is familiar with Night of the Living Dead. That film is now nearing the 1/2 century mark, and I don't know how many younger viewers have seen it.

Dictionary.com defines "mimesis" as imitation, mimicry, or a re-enactment. (I'm just all about the definitions today, aren't I?) This certainly describes part of Mimesis, as it does indeed re-create scenes from Night of the Living Dead. But, it also uses its freedom to do so to introduce a new story which fizzles out and never quite lives up to its potential. According to IMDB.com, Mimesis 2 is already underway and it looks like Nosferatu will be the target this time. I only hope that Schulze comes up with a better conclusion for the new movie.

Mimesis is coming to get you, Barbara on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look fine. Some of the nighttimes shots (which is the bulk of the movie) are a bit too dark. The level of detail is good and the image never goes sharp. The depth is good as well, as the actors are clearly separated from the backgrounds. The Disc carries a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. As most of the action takes place inside the house, we are treated to some nice stereo and surround effects which alert the characters that something is happening in another part of the house. These effects show good separation and some highlight individual sounds. The subwoofer effects come into play during the attack sequences.

The lone extra on the Mimesis Blu-ray Disc is an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director/Co-Writer Douglas Schulze and Co-Writer Joshua Wagner.

Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.