The Relic (1997)
Director: Peter Hyams
Starring: Penelope Ann Miller, Tom Sizemore, Linda Hunt
Plot: A homicide detective and an anthropologist try to destroy a South American lizard-like god, who's on a people eating rampage in a Chicago museum.
I was looking for something to watch on Netflix and came across this one, which I hadn't seen since the time it came out. I remember back in 1997 there were two big-budget monster movies that came out at the same time - Guillermo del Toro's Mimic and this one. Both even had woman scientists as their main protagonists.
In this one the role of museum scientist is played by Penelope Ann Miller, what ever happened to her? It seemed like she was in a few things for a while there, but I haven't heard much from her in recent years. On the other hand the downfall of Tom Sizemore is well documented - he went from landing biggish roles to low budget obscurity thanks to his vices.
Sizemore is perfectly cast here as the slightly-grumpy old school cop, who pairs up with Miller to track down a monster lurking in a large museum. Wisely the creature is kept off screen for most of the running time, but even when it appears in full it's impressive (designed by the late great Stan Winston). The story around how it ends up in Chicago is fairly well thought out, while the rest of the plot is pure monster movie. The kills don't get very graphic, but there's a decent amount of kills and blood.
The more cynical out there have referred to this as nothing more than Alien in a museum, and that's not far from the truth, but it works. Another comparison I would throw in is Jurassic Park - it has similar cinematography and music and that big budget polish. If you like your horror move gritty and less refined, you'll probably want to pass by this one. Otherwise it's definitely worth a watch, particularly if you like monster movies.