Mosquito (1995)
Mosquito (1995)

Genre: Sci-Fi Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 32 min.

Release Date: May 20th, 1995 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Gary Jones Actors: Gunnar Hansen, Ron Asheton, Steve Dixon, Rachel Loiselle, Tim Lovelace, Mike Hard, Kenny Mugwump, Margaret Gomoll

 


 

D

renched in blood, guts, and giant bugs, Gary Jones’ “Mosquito” is so close to being a great horror movie that it’s truly depressing the film didn’t take itself more seriously – and that the actors didn’t take more lessons. The film opts for a high level of camp, but never drifts far enough into the cleverly self-aware comedy realm of “Arachnophobia” or “Tremors” to attain a more prestigious cult classic status. Instead, it’s one of the most obscure sci-fi thrillers of the ‘90s.

When regular mosquitos begin drinking the blood of dead aliens from a downed spaceship, they grow to gargantuan proportions. Expectedly, all hell breaks loose for the vacationers relaxing in the nearby campgrounds. Ray (Tim Lovelace) and his Park Ranger girlfriend Megan (Rachel Loiselle) band together with meteorologist Parks (Steve Dixon) and nerdy trooper Hendricks (Ron Asheton) to fend off both the mutated bugs and a pair of cantankerous criminals – Junior (Mike Hard) and Earl (Gunnar Hansen, in fine, goofy form, essentially mocking his own “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” performance).

“Mosquito” doesn’t bother with attempting to set up an elaborate explanation for why giant skeeters roam the grounds – though the impulsive reason chosen is likely better than the typical biohazard testing by negligent governmental lackeys, which fuels comparable works. Borrowing a few cues from “Aliens,” “Predator,” and other imitable horror staples, the film instead gets right into the carnage with impressive action sequences that could have really stood out, had it not been for the noticeable lack of seriousness. The threat of the monstrous mutant insects, coupled with their bloodthirsty method of feeding, creates an inherently relatable, tense mood from the start – but all the hokey dialogue quickly substitutes suspense and scares for eye-rolling laughs.

Director Gary Jones (“Spiders” [2000], “Crocodile 2: Death Swamp”) got his start in makeup and special effects – and it shows. Impressively grotesque practical effects compose the majority of the creature shots; they look as real as ten-foot insect puppets can. The gore has that daring, early ‘90s feel, with scenes of razor sharp proboscises to the chest and eyes providing some cringe-worthy moments like the best of the decade’s slashers. With such a fast introduction to the mayhem, only a few bystander deaths are shown, but Jones makes good use of them – most notably in a tent ambush sequence that deftly displays the film’s overall, wryly schlock tone. While a killer bug is assaulting his wife, a doltish camper continues to take swigs from his beer as he runs to her aid.

With such admirable efforts for the mosquito components, it’s disappointing to see poorly done green-screen moments and a spattering of subpar stop-motion animation mixed in – though these brief shortcomings can be forgiven once the oversized proboscis-bearers return to their grisly brand of fluid-draining in all their puppetry glory. The pitiful acting, however, will surely keep this forgotten killer bug flick from finding an audience among casual horror enthusiasts. Executive produced by Andre Blay, the man behind “Prince of Darkness,” “The Blob” (1988), and “They Live,” and with the special effects team responsible for “Batman Returns,” “Army of Darkness,” and “Darkman,” “Mosquito” is one of those few films that glimpses exploitive, B-movie perfection – making it definitely worth a look.

– Joel Massie

  • 7/10

 

 

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