This creepy and crawly horror movie from the late 90’s features excellent direction and strong performances. It has a lot of jump scares and a really unique take on the Frankenstein story for your Halloween night viewing.

When an outbreak of a deadly disease is traced by to cockroaches in Manhattan, Dr. Susan Tyler develops a new insect that will eradicate the disease carrying roaches. What she doesn’t plan on is these bugs mutating and evolving into something massive and sinister.

The film was directed by Guillermo Del Toro. He is a master of filmmaking craft. He is so good at constructing scenes and using the tools of the filmmaker to create a distinct and powerful experience. From the opening moments, I feel like I’m in good hands.

Del Toro brings his usual bag of tricks to the proceedings. One of the most important is the unique creature design. The insects here are incredible. At first they appear like tall, thin, men wrapped tightly in trench coats up to the neck. They appear this way to mimic their prey. They stalk all over the rainy New York and seem to glide without stepping. They move in such a creepy and intimidating way. I love these early moments.

When they are finally revealed, they turn from puppets and costumes into full blown crap 90’s CGI. It was so disappointing. They look terrible. They look so unreal especially compared to the puppet work. It was laughable. Thankfully, the crap cgi is done away with pretty quickly. They revert back to the incredible animatronics and puppetry. I love when they use real designs and real tangible creatures in film. It’s so much better. You can always tell when it’s real. It might not be able to do everything a cgi creation can, but it’s so much better.

The movie is scary and tense even though it leans a little too heavily on jump scares and loud musical cues. There are too many moments when someone walks through a dark room and a loud noise causes them to jump. The movie is so full of tension and atmosphere that it doesn’t need the jumps. They just take away from the over all sense of tension and dread.

What I found so fun was that it was a really unique take on the Frankenstein story. The scientist who creates a monster that gets out of their hands. It’s such an iconic and timeless story. It works so well and adds a depth to the sci-fi horror.

Overall this was absolutely my cup of tea. Great premise. Great actors giving great performances. Great director. I really had a great time. If you get queasy around bugs, this one might not be for you. Otherwise check it out. Its a great Halloween pick. B+

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