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The Mimic (2017)
Well Go USA
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/12/2018
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 6/22/2018
Here's today's discussion question: Where did all of the Asian horror movies go? A decade-and-a-half ago, scary movies from Japan, China, and Korea were very hot. This included the original films, for those who were determined enough to seek them out, and the remakes which Hollywood glommed onto. It wasn't surprising when the American copycat trend died out. However, simultaneously, we stopped seeing promotion of Asian horror movies in the U.S. They used to be made available for review on a regular basis, but that has basically dried up. A quick trip to some import websites shows that horror movies are still being made in the Far East. Therefore, I jumped at the chance to check out The Mimic, if nothing else just fill to a gaping void.
Still reeling from a person tragedy, Hee-Yeon (Yum Jung-Ah) and her husband, Min-Ho (Park Hyuk-Kwon) move to the countryside, where they open a new business. They are joined in this move by their young daughter, Jun-Hee (Bang Yu-seol), and Hee-Yeon's elderly mother. Their new home is near a cave which has been the site of some crimes and disappearances in the past. One night, they find a little girl (Shin Rin-A) in the woods, who claims that her name is also Jun-Hee. Min-Ho wants to turn the child over to the authorities, but Hee-Yeon is overcome with a maternal need and becomes very protective of the girl. This is just the beginning of the odd occurrences in the house. Soon, everyone has fallen under the spell of an ancient curse.
As noted above, we don't see as many Asian horror movies, as we used to in the U.S. Therefore, there may be some viewers who aren't familiar with scary movies from the other side of the world who stumble upon The Mimic who don't know exactly what's going on. (Which is understandable. More on that in a moment.) What they won't realize is that The Mimic pulls a lot of ideas from other movies from the region. The cave may be a cave, but it's very reminiscent of the well from Ringu (1998). The appearance of a strange child who seems to be tied to a location conjures up memories of Ju-On (2002). The fact that there are supernatural happenings occurring in mirrors in the house made me think of Into the Mirror (2003). This is not to imply that The Mimic is a rip-off, but it's not surprising that a filmmaker making a movie in 2017 would produce a product which feels like ideas put from the ether.
There is one place where The Mimic is original leads to why the second half of the film may not work for Western audiences. The third act reveals the origin of the spooky doings originate from a local legend. In the event that someone reading this review is familiar with South Korean lore, I won't divulge the specific legend, but rest assured that it is based on an actual myth from that country. And while this doesn't necessarily detract from the film, the movie does slow down and take its time visiting this legend.
But, once the movie gets over this hump, it does present us with a finale which offers some pretty good jump scares. And then it brings us the kind of down ending which frequent Asian horror movies. If I had watched The Mimic in the early 2000s, I would have dismissed it as an also-ran. However, this kind of film has become such a rarity in these parts, but watching The Mimic was like a surprise visit from an old friend. The story may be cliched and familiar in parts, but there's just enough creepiness to make this one watchable.
The Mimic never fully explained what their new business is on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Well Go USA. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 25 Mbps. The picture is very sharp and clear, showing no obvious grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look very good, most notably the greens from the surrounding forest, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The image delivers impressive detail and a nice depth. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.5 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The scenes in the forest provide a nice amount of surround sound which highlight effects coming from off-screen. The finale contains several shock moments which bring us strong suffer woofer effects. The stereo effects show off good separation.
The Mimic Blu-ray Disc contains a very small amount of extras. "Director's Commentary" (2 minutes) is not an audio commentary, but rather a very short segment in which Director Jung Huh shares a few thoughts about the film. "The Actors" (3 minutes) focuses on the cast, which features Yum Jung-Ah, who is labeled as "Top Actress in Korea, Thriller Queen". I thought that title belonged to me! The actors talk about their roles, which Jung Huh comments on their performances. The extras are rounded out by a TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2018 by Mike Long