Mimic is one of the scarier and more suspenseful movies I've seen this year. The premise is simple: a genetically engineered insect mutates and evolves into something fearsome that poses a threat to all mankind.

But there's no reason to be misled by the scientific background; Mimic turns into pure horror right after we witness the creation of the "Judas Breed", an insect that is a cross between a mantis and a termite containing designer genes. The Judas Breed is unleashed to destroy the carrier of a disease that threatens to wipe out all the children in New York City: the cockroach.

The Judas halts the disease, and its creators, Susan Tyler (Mira Sorovino) and Peter Mann (Jeremy Northam), bask in their 15 minutes of fame. Three years later, these bugs, which were sterile and carried apoptosis genes that ensured they would die after fulfilling their mission, turn up again in New York's subways. Tyler and Mann, being the brave souls that they are, go down the subway system to track these bugs down, along with some help (read: bug din-din). This enables one to play guessing games as to who gets picked-off next by the terrifying insects, in a dark and claustrophobic setting.

What is not surprising, and perhaps indicative of the biggest hole in the plot, is that the creature manages to survive. What is surprising is that the creature mutates and evolves into a predator of man in such a short time.

There are various sub-plots used to build-up suspense and horror as the movie progresses, before the final confrontation between Tyler and gang, and the Judas Breed, occurs. A particularly gruesome scene involves the killing of two bug bounty hunters by the Judas Breed: the details are masked in the movie, but our imagination fills in the gaps. The little boy (Alexander Goodwin) who is able to mimic the sound of the Judas Breed with spoons who he calls "Mr. funny shoes" provides an interesting touch. Most fascinating I found was the detail of the subway systems. The bugs are quite convincing, as are the actors.

The main problem with Mimic is that while the build-up of suspense is effective, the ending is a bit of an anti-climax. Still, I think the movie is worth the matinee fare if getting scared appeals to you as a form of entertainment.

Movie ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org