MIMIC. Miramax, 1997. Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Alexander Goodwin, Giancarlo Giannini, Charles S. Dutton, Josh Brolin, Alix Koromzay, F. Murray Abraham. Based on the short story “Mimic,” by Donald A. Wollheim (Astonishing Stories, December 1942). Director: Guillermo del Toro.

   The basic plot is simple enough. A laboratory-created insect called the Judas breed is developed to kill off a city filled with cockroaches which are spreading a deadly disease primarily affecting children. Even though the new insects were specifically designed to die out within a single generation, you can guess what comes next.

   The reason both the story and the film is titled “Mimic,” is because the new insect creatures have developed by rapid evolutionary means a way of avoiding detection — and that is by outwardly mimicking their number one predator, humans.

   Not everyone in the cast makes it out of the movie alive, qualifying it as more of a horror film than a science-fictional one. Gorgeously if not sumptuously filmed, including plenty of small details, it’s a scary film, too — until, that is, the human-shaped insectoids actually appear on the screen. They’re ugly enough all right, but not nearly as fearsome as the anticipation.

   There are plenty of plot holes, too, which I needn’t go into, I suppose, as only someone such as myself who prefers story lines that make sense would care.

   Me, though, I wished that as much attention were made to the story line as was paid to the cinematography and special effects. It’s one of those movies that you have to decide to sit back and watch, without asking too many questions, hoping things will sort themselves out later. A second watching may answer some of the questions I had, but as for me, the one ride is the only ride I’m going to take.