Cable in the 90’s was a glorious thing for budding film nerds. Joe Bob Briggs opened my eyes to understanding that just because a film doesn’t get an Oscar nomination (or a theatrical release for that matter) doesn’t make it any less important. A filmmaker’s passion is not limited by the budget they’re given. With this I learned to appreciate anything, so long as it had some merit. During one summer afternoon I was flipping through channels when I stumbled across Mosquito.
After a UFO crashes into a swamp some mosquitoes get a taste of some alien blood causing them to mutate into… bigger mosquitoes. In the meantime a trio of bank robbers (Gunnar Hansen, Mike Hard, and Kenny Mugwump) is on the lam cross paths with Ray (Tim Lovelace), Megan (Rachel Loiselle), Doc Parks (Steve Dixon), and Ranger Hendricks (Ron Asheton). Can this ragtag group come together to fight off these overgrown bloodsuckers and save the world from global extermination?
“In the basement. Eggs, mosquito eggs. Hundreds of them, thousands of them.”
From that synopsis I assume readers will know whether or not they’ll be invested in this film. I can’t help but find enjoyment in the creature feature. Carnosaur and Tremors were often found in rotation and I loved them. As a kid there’s something fascinating about a hungry monster trying to hunt you down. Don’t ask me why, maybe I was just a weirdo? An oversized mosquito taking down campers and fisherman, now that’s entertainment. Seeing a guy get his blood sucked out until he shrivels up, his eyes bulge out, and finally explode I wasn’t sure if I should be scared or laugh.
The creature feature is a sub genre looked down upon often due to the lack of a budget. Unless of course you’re Guillermo del Toro, but we’ll look at that another time. With $200,000 Gary Jones made sure to put the money on the screen. I have to commend him as visual FX tech he knew how to make the practical effects work. And yes, some of the effects look dated, but the fact that RV crash was filmed using a scale model it looks pretty impressive. Fun fact: Jones came up in Michigan alongside Sam Raimi and the Coen Brothers and in fact did FX work on Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness.
“Then we get rid of it. Whatever it takes.”
And now we get to the part I’ve been dreading and excited to talk about. Acting in this film is pretty lopsided. I wouldn’t say there’s any flat out bad acting, but our leads aren’t as charismatic as you’d hope. You don’t really root for either of them, so that’s where the supporting cast does the heavy lifting. Steve Dixon is a competent take charge character even if he gets forced to do exposition dumps. As for Ron Asheton I have to admit I only have a passing knowledge of The Stooges and their music, but he adds a little levity to the film. Of course the best of the best is Gunnar Hansen. As an antihero he is charismatic and likable. Plus, seeing him wielding a chainsaw once again is a blast. If only they’d put him more front and center in the story.
Some films age poorly when you revisit them, but all these years later and I have to say Mosquito is still a blast. Aside from the fond memories it evoked I could tell Jones and co. knew what kind of film they were making and pulled it off. If a film where the actor who played Leatherface and a punk rock icon take on oversized mosquitoes sounds like a good time it will be!
Overall Score: 3.5/5