March 2, 2013

New Disc Review: MIMESIS (Blu-Ray)

Starring Allen Maldonado, Lauren Mae Shafer, Taylor John Piedmonte, David G.B. Brown, Courtney Gains & Sid Haig. Directed by Douglas Schulze (2011, 95 min).

Anchor Bay Entertainment

The current problem with the zombie genre is that they've replaced vampires as pop culture's most endearing movie monsters. They just aren't scary anymore, a sad fact not helped by endless movies - good and bad - which glut video shelves, YouTube, Netflix and the SyFy Channel. Hence, I've seen so many cookie-cutter zombie flicks that I've learned to appreciate the few that at-least try to do something different. To a limited extent, Mimesis does that.

The subtitle on the box cover of Mimesis is Night of the Living Dead, George Romero’s 1968 classic which invented the zombie genre as we know it today. But this is not part of that franchise, nor is it a remake or satire. I suppose homage would be the best term, though that’s not 100% accurate either, even though the success of it’s premise largely depends on one's familiarity of NOTLD.

In Mimesis, several bland characters are being pursued & attacked by what appear to be zombies. As in NOTLD, they end up in an abandoned farm house as the ghouls surround them. The first hour of this movie is standard and dull zombie fare, occasionally bordering on amateurish. We are not too impressed with what’s shaping to be a love letter to the original NOTLD. In fact, I nearly fell asleep while watching it. But then, when these characters slowly discover they’ve been drugged, kidnapped and forced to re-enact NOTLD in real life, I began to perk up a bit. Without trying to give too much away, Mimesis confounded my expectations by not being a zombie movie at all.

"Cool story, make me a sandwich."
It isn't a great film. For the first hour, it isn’t even a good one. But the final act ultimately saves Mimesis from being a complete waste of time. The last 30 minutes are loaded with black comedy and interesting twists. Even the actors themselves turn their game up a notch or two during these segments. There’s also clever observational commentary regarding the media’s impact on particularly disturbed individuals which borders on disturbing; despite a few glaring plot holes, one could imagine something like this actually happening.

As with most films of this genre, there is plenty of violence, and the budget-conscious gore effects are serviceable enough, though unremarkable to seasoned zombie fans. Cult aficionados may also be disappointed that, despite their billing, Sid Haig’s & Courtney Gains’ appearances are glorified cameos. Still, for the patient viewer willing to sit through what - on-the-surface - starts off as yet-another zombie gut-muncher, Mimesis provides a few worthwhile rewards.

Special Features: Audio commentary by writer/director Douglas Schulze and co-writer Joshua Wagner.

FKMG RATING: **1/2 (out of 4)

No comments: