By Thuy-Linh Dang, Co-Editor-in-Chief
“The Mimic,” which was originally titled “Jang-san Beom,” is a South Korean horror film that was written and directed by Huh Jung in 2017. The film is inspired by the Korean urban legend of a man-eating creature that preys on humans by mimicking human voices.
The film opens with an unnamed man and woman driving through a wooded area in the dark. After their car strikes a dog, it is revealed that the unnamed man had his wife tied up in the trunk of his car, whom he murders in the next scene. To cover up his heinous crime, he hid her body (and the dog that he hit) into a cave on Mt. Jang and sealed up the cave with bricks.
As he turned to leave, he, very distinctly, heard the voice of his now-dead wife calling to him from inside the boarded-up cave “Honey… help me.” The scene intensifies as the terrified unnamed man and woman hear their own voices being mimicked from inside of the cave.
The story then follows a grieving mother, Hee-Yeon (Yeom Jung-Ah), after her family moved to the countryside, Mt. Jang, to escape the post-traumatic stress she experienced following the disappearance of her toddler son, five years ago.
Hee-Yeon, along with her husband, Min-Ho (Park Hyuk-Keon), his senile mother, Soon-Ja (Heo Jim), and their young daughter, Jun-Hee (Bang Yoo-Seul) attempt to adjust to their new lives in the countryside, unknowing of the dark, supernatural forces living in the cave near their home.
When two children visited their home in search of their missing dog, Hee-Yeon and her husband followed the children into the forest where Hee-Yeon first encountered the Little Girl. Still struggling with the grief of her missing toddler son, Hee-Yeon took in the Little Girl.
Strange things begin to happen in their home. The Little Girl strangely sounds just like their own daughter and it starts to become apparent that there was a possibility that the Little Girl was not even human.
Although the concept of bringing an unsettling Korean urban legend to life, “The Mimic” still left a lot to be desired. As someone who loves and appreciates the Korean culture as well as being a complete chicken when it comes to horror movies, I had high expectations for this movie.
Unfortunately, my expectations were shot and the film was mostly a bust.
The slow progression of the near two-hour long film was the biggest setback for what could have been a five-star rating.
In addition to the film’s slow progression, the director failed to fill in the missing plot holes from beginning to end and the overall execution of the film left me repeating, “It could have been better.”
Overall, I really wanted to enjoy this film because the urban legend of the Jang-san Beom itself was creepy and unsettling. However, I have to give this film a 3.5 of out 5 stars because it could have been better.