THE MIMIC, the latest film from writer/director Jung Huh (Hide and Seek), is a supernatural tale surrounding a creature that can mimic human voices to lure in its prey. The film stars Yum Jung-Ah (Tell Me Something), Park Hyuk-Kwon (A Taxi Driver), Shin Rin-Ah (Ode To My Father), Heo Jin (The Wailing), Kil Hae-Yeon (Missing) and Lee Yool (Hello Murderer).
THE MIMIC centers around Hee-yeon (Jung-ah Yum) and her family after moving to her late father's home to care for her ailing mother while simultaneously coming to terms with the disappearance of her young son. When a tragic accident occurs outside of the home, deep within the surrounding woods, Hee-yeon finds a young child, dirty and alone, hiding amongst the foliage. Deciding to take her back and clean her up, Hee-yeon finds herself becoming more attached to the mysterious child, as if she might know the secret to her son's disappearance. However, Hee-yeon soon realizes that the girl is much more than she seems, with a dark past that includes a Shaman obsessed with an inexplicable, yet haunting, cave within the woods. A cave known to mimic the voices of humans out of thin air...
I really wanted to enjoy this movie more than I did as it had some pretty astounding imagery and quality jump scares; however, I felt as though the story began to unravel around the halfway mark. The beginning definitely grabs your attention by breaking a horror rule (trigger warning: dead animal) which sets the tone for what the audience should expect, unfortunately, I felt like that tone didn't translate throughout the rest of the film. I would have loved to have seen the storyline that we were presented with at the beginning more fleshed out, as it felt like it was an homage to Edgar Allan Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado", but that narrative ended up trickling off as the film went on without any type of resolution.
The overall story had moments that really shined, especially when it focused on the struggles that the family was going through. It's one thing to pick up your life and move to a new place, it's a whole other thing when you have also care for an ailing parent while trying to come to terms with the disappearance of your child. That's way more than any person should ever have to deal with and I think that director Jung Huh did a fantastic job of capturing that pain, anguish, denial and acceptance on screen. I think had Jung Huh scaled back on the overall story - focusing more on just the family dealing with the supernatural elements and not all the other narratives that were at play - we would have had a solid entry within the horror genre. Instead, there are so many story arcs vying for attention that included the mysterious girls background, the family drama, the missing son, the grandmother's involvement, the tale at the beginning, the Shaman... it was just a lot to fit into an hour and forty minute runtime.
Where the strength of THE MIMIC lies is in its special effects, makeup, and scares. I will fully admit that there was one moment in particular that made me jump out of my seat. When a jump-scare is crafted well it ends up leaving a lasting impression and in the case of THE MIMIC Jung Huh did a phenomenal job at executing that. Also, the makeup application was top notch as well as the practical effects used. Obviously there was some CGI that took place but it weaved together nicely with the practical portion that it wasn't jarring or annoying to look at.
Overall, I found that there was a lot that THE MIMIC did right, it just fell short in terms of the story. There were enough scares for horror fans to enjoy as well as some beautiful and terrifying visuals to accompany the supernatural story at hand. In the end, I wanted a more concise storyline to bring the entire experience full circle. With all that said, I wouldn't dissuade you from checking out THE MIMIC, if anything I would actually suggest picking it up and giving it a chance, just be prepared for a convoluted story. THE MIMIC is now available to own on Blu-ray and Digital from Well Go USA.