Open your mouth and say "AH"

Mimic rehashes a familiar story line

Unlike the sci-fi-horror flicks of the '50s, movies like Mimic are overly self-conscious about their visual design and completely unconscious of the possibilities for entertainment. The radioactive ants in Them! look pretty silly today, but at least you could see Them. Del Toro is so devoted to Gothic shadows in Mimic that he never gives you a full, satisfying gawk at his amazing flying Judases. (Alert to Mayor Giuliani: One previewgoer remarked, "New York is really dark!") If there was a kick to having nasty bugs upset the status quo in '50s America, in the '90s they come off as a predictable outgrowth of our everyday chaos. They're not haunting Creatures of the Id; they're disposable Creatures of the "Ick!"

Mira Sorvino and Jeremy Northam. Written by Guillermo Del Toro and Matthew Robbins, from a story by Donald A. Wolheim. Directed by Del Toro. Opens Friday.

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