Before watching this film, I had completely forgotten about HIDE AND SEEK, Director Huh Jung’s directorial debut which was a blend of thriller, horror and mystery. THE MIMIC contains the same ingredients, but keeps thriller at the minimum. There is mystery in the film but it stays around till a certain point, and horror slowly gains its momentum as the film progresses. The entire film revolves around a South Korean folklore about a tiger living in the mountains of Jangsan in Busan which lures people in by mimicing a woman’s wail. Director Huh Jung, improvising on this folkloric idea, places in a human connection to it. The tiger may be dead, but it has kept itself alive by transcending itself into humans, thus keeping the evil alive. THE MIMIC Is A Supernatural Folkloric Horror
Shin Rin-ah)who appears near the cave and is taken in by Hee-Yeon(Yum Jung-ah). She becomes part of the family and even starts calling Hee-yeon and her husband Min-ho(Park Hyuk-kwon) as mom and dad. She goes along quite well with their daughter Joon-hee(Bang Yu-seol). The senile mother in law(Heo Jin) on the other hand has a completely different kind of effect once she gets in contact with her.
The film as a whole, is not the best work of Huh Jung compared to his previous one. There are plot holes and parts that are hard to follow. The husband at one point in the film suddenly vanishes for quite a good duration, only to reappear near the end. The blind Shaman telling the story of the tiger and the shamans serving it is an important part. Without it the film most probably would not have made sense to the international audience oblivious of the local folklore. Hee-yeon has her own tragedy which involves the death of her son. Fragments of it are shown in flashbacks, but not much information is given away except that she feels responsible for it. The senile mother in law keeps hearing her dead sister’s voice, but then again, nothing is given away about her sister. It is more of an inner conflict the character is dealing with, without sharing anything with the viewer. Joon-hee, the biological daughter of Hee-yeon is more of an addition in the film to create a bit of confusion between her and the mysterious girl. I had to figure out who is who at one point because the little girl mimics her and gradually starts looking like her too. The main antagonist which is a supernatural being is played by a physical actor at first, but then it changes into a CGI animated character which looks more like an evil being out of a Hollywood satanic film!
Shin Rin-ah gives the best performance as the creepy little mysterious girl. Yum Jung-ah has a lot of emotional scenes including some very horrific ones where she has to act scared. She fairs quite well in her role. Park Hyuk-kwon gives a mediocre performance as his character is not given that much of importance. Heo Jin has the least dialogues, so she has to mostly rely on face expressions in order to put her performance through, which she does quite well. Bang Yu-seol does quite good too as a child actor, equalling herself to the level of Shin Rin-ah
The film is still watchable, especially for the fans of horror films. Compared to HIDE AND SEEK, this film is not up to mark as I was expecting it to be. The script is not quite strong which most probably needed a bit more work done on. Director Huh Jung has only made two horror features, with The Mimic being the latest one. It might be getting some very mixed reviews at the moment, but it will surely go down as a cult horror film in the future.
Tags: 12th London Korean Film Festival 2017, 2nd London East Asia Film Festival 2017, London East Asia Film Festival, London Korean Film Festival
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