Neil Marshall’s Hellboy is the latest in this long line of Superhero films out there. It also happens to be one of the worst ones to date if Rotten Tomatoes is to be believed. So I’d say that, if skipping Hollywood’s latest bowl movement is not an option for you, then now would be a good time to watch not one but two charming, modern monster movie classics. What helps these original two films stand out in a world oversaturated with well made but safe and samey superheroes is none other than their director – Guillermo Del Toro.
Throughout his career, Del Toro has proven himself to be among the greatest directors of our age. He’s certainly my personal favourite. From movies to TV, even books and videogames, Del Toro is a man with a great deal of stories under his belt. With a love of monsters, insects and fairy tales, as well as a distinct style, a focus on practical and make-up effects and an eye for the gothic, all of his films are as unique as they are entertaining.
With ten films in his filmography, it’s probably a good time to look at them – from weakest to best – and praise the unique and weird, before we all go and see the new standard and bland.
10 – MIMIC
Del Toro’s second film is known for it’s troubled production and Del Toro’s displeasure in it. Honestly, while Mimic isn’t that bad – in fact, it’s still a pretty solid and enjoyable monster movie – it is easy to understand why. The story of genetically modified termites, created to kill cockroaches that are carrying a disease that is killing numerous children, only for the creatures to grow and hide amongst us, does sound like it lends itself well to Del Toro’s style. But of all of Del Toro’s films, this feels the least like a Del Toro film.
A huge part of that is thanks to producer and now defamed and shamed Harvey Weinstein. If one half of what I have read really happened during this films production, then it sounds like filming Mimic was a living hell. The most pressing issue that comes of this is the fact that this feels like Somebody wanted to make a gothic horror film, almost like a vampire film, and someone else wanted to make an Alien spin-off. It’s an unfortunate mess of tones and the pacing is surprisingly slow too.
That being said, we still have some great moments of chilling atmosphere towards the start and thrilling action towards the end. Our characters, while not great are perfectly likable. The performances are good across the board and it is visually nice. And despite the tonal and pacing issues, the story itself does work well enough. It just feels like a missed opportunity. There is a director’s cut of the film out there, but it still feels like entire scenes need to be re-shot before it can truly be called a director’s cut. At the end of the day, Mimic is still worth a watch, despite what Del Toro says. But I think that we can all agree that this is as low as they come.