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Popcorn Fall

Popcorn Pictures

Reviewing the best (and worst) of horror, sci-fi and fantasy since 2000

  • Andrew Smith

Mosquito (1995)

"Millions of years of evolution have just become mankind's worst nightmare"

Plot

An alien spaceship crashes into a swamp where a swam of mosquitoes begin to feed on the alien corpses. This causes them to grow to enormous size and it isn't long before the corpses can no longer fulfil their appetites. Thirsty for blood, they set out to find the nearest human population to satisfy their needs.

 

When I first saw Mosquito a couple of years ago, I wasn't impressed. It reeked of clichés, seemed too cheesy and I generally hated it. However once I'd started to look back over some of my earlier reviews, I've had a burning desire to re-watch some of the films I'd hammered to pieces. Mosquito was one of the first flicks I re-watched and my opinion of it has altered and its actually rather entertaining in hindsight. Maybe my critical skills have been devalued so much by the constant slew of awful Sci-Fi Channel originals that something as poor as this gets a high mark simply because it's not as bad as them. Or maybe it's because it's just dumb fun where the script is light-hearted, the tone is rather cheesy and the mosquitoes actually look convincing as a threat. Don't worry I'm not going soft on you, it's just that Mosquito isn't as bad as I remembered it to be and is quite a fun ride.



Think of it as a modern throwback to the old science fiction films of the 50s where radiation and atomic testing mutated all manner of creatures from wasps to ants which then went on to terrorise the unwitting local populace. Drain the colour from it, get rid of a few of the pop culture references and add in some more nonsense science and Mosquito could easily have emerged from this era. At least there's no pretentious preaching about atomic testing in this one. The mosquitoes are created by good old alien blood. Any modern monster film which doesn't resort to genetic-engineering-gone-wrong is alright by my book. The fact that these mosquitoes are big and they're here is all any of the characters in the film need to know.


Monster movies are only as good as their monsters though and thankfully, the visual effects in Mosquito are relatively strong overall. The mosquitoes themselves are a product of a by-gone era - big prosthetic puppets which have little movement save for their wings and in which the actors have to hold to their chests to make it look like they're being attacked. Some old school stop motion is used in the flying scenes but for the close-ups, it's all real and helps the film's cheesy tone because of it. When they are blown up, they explode in a shower of gooey effects. We also get a lot of mosquito P.O.V. shots as they home in on their victims. There's also some really cool make-up effects used on the victims of the mosquitoes. With bulbous eyes and dried, rubbery skin, the decomposing bodies look suitably devoid of any blood. Special effects artist Gary Jones was more known for his work on the likes of Evil Dead II and stepped into the director's chair here, though it's clear that he had more of an appreciation for his speciality trade rather than getting the best out of his cast and writers.


Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) stars but his performance is pretty awful. He's a writer by trade, not an actor and it shows. However his inclusion does lead the film to its greatest moment. Faced with the mosquito hordes trying to break into the boarded up house the survivors are trapped inside, Hansen's character picks up a chainsaw and shrugs, saying that "I haven't handled one of these things in twenty years....feels good." He then proceeds to use the chainsaw on the mosquitoes with knowing winks to his genre past. At least he's game for a laugh.


The rest of the cast are the same. They're pretty diabolical in delivery but at least they're out to have a good time. The attempts at humour in the script fail at almost every opportunity and some characters, including the park ranger, are so annoying that it's impossible to root for them. The script hardly gives us time to root for anyone though and most of the characters disappear for massive stretches of the film. It's only in the final third when the survivors band together in the house that matters take a turn for the better and more in line with Night of the Living Dead....only with mosquitoes obviously. Throughout the film, the tone is light hearted and it wears its camp on its sleeve like a badge of honour. There's a big body count, lots of attack scenes, nudity, gore and plenty of explosions.

 

Final Verdict

Mosquito is a highly entertaining giant insect film which delivers what you'd expect from such a genre flick. These mosquitoes don't suck! You can tell that the director has a love for the old 50s films and sends them up in gooey 90s style. There may not be a lot of actual quality on display but there's a whole lot of enthusiasm and fun and this conveys across in the final product.



 

Mosquito


Director(s): Gary Jones


Writer(s): Tom Chaney, Steve Hodge, Gary Jones


Actor(s): Gunnar Hansen, Ron Asheton, Steve Dixon, Rachel Loiselle, Tim Lovelace, Mike Hard, Kenny Mugwump


Duration: 92 mins




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