UK Release date: 26th June 1998
Watched on Sky+ Sunday 4th December 2011.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I had watched this film a couple of times before but never realised it had been directed by Guillermo del Toro until recently. So I decided to give it another viewing and this time look at it with a more critical eye. I was quite surprised by the results; which I’ll talk about after this brief summary.
A disease is killing the young of New York. It is carried by the cockroaches that inhabit much of the city and so entomologist, Dr. Susan Tyler is brought in to try and solve the problem. What she comes up with is a genetically modified insect that kills the cockroaches. It’s a success. We now switch to three years down the line and it seems there’s something praying on the lower levels of society in the subway tunnels. Some boys bring Dr. Tyler something they have found, a young of the species she had developed to kill the cockroaches… but they were all supposed to be sterile. Her husband, Dr. Peter Mann, who works for the CDC, goes with her down into the tunnels where they boys found the insect. Can they find the colony before it spreads across the city and eventually the country? Well, I guess the Spoiler Police would be feeding me to the roaches if I told you that one.
Very well made with some great cinematography and some great visual effects; the creatures were particularly good. Although nobody particularly stood out, all the performances were pretty good, so honourable mentions go to; Mira Sorvino as Dr. Susan Tyler, Jeremy Northam as Dr. Peter Mann, Alexander Goodwin as Chuy, Giancarlo Giannini as Manny, Charles S. Dutton as Leonard, Josh Brolin as Josh, Alix Koromzay as Remy and F. Murray Abraham as Dr. Gates.
Although I liked the look of the film and the effects were pretty good, I still found it hard to really get into. I guess the characters didn’t have enough depth for me to really engage with them and so it kind of fell a bit flat about two thirds of the way through, just when it should have been picking up! Don’t get me wrong, I love much of del Toro’s work, it’s just this one sadly failed to hit the mark. It’s certainly gory enough, so not recommended for the squeamish, and it’s not entirely bad, but still it’s not one, sadly, I can fully recommend.
My score: 5.8/10.
IMDb Score: 5.8/10 (based on 17,705 votes at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 61/100 (based on 33 reviews counted at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 46/100 (based on 43,507 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Chuy: Funny shoes!
Dr. Gates: [to Susan] So... you think your little "Frankenstein" has gotten the better of you?