Saturday, November 24, 2018

A Mosquito-Man – review

Director: Michael Manasseri

Release date: 2016

Contains spoilers

Science goes mad and creates a mosquito human hybrid… its actually not an unheard of trope and the madness of the science is underlined by the fact that in every example (as well as this film we have also looked at Mansquito & Weresquito: Nazi Hunter) the mosquito human hybrid is male… and male mosquito’s don’t drink blood (they actually feed on tree sap, it’s the female mosquito that feeds on blood). Ok… perhaps that is thinking about it too hard!

bring on the mad science
The other thing to note is that it isn’t always necessarily enough to make the film a fully-fledged vampire movie – Mansquito actually became essentially a giant bug, rather than the hybrid that might lend itself to be called a vampire. But in this case the creature is a hybrid and we are definitely playing with the tropes – indeed vampires are mentioned at one point (in a dismissive way).

being drained
The first thing to note about this budget film is… it's great fun. Silly, yes, but great fun. It starts in a swamp, a mosquito settling on a hunter and being splatted for her trouble. The scene really is just a mosquito moment, with no story impact. Then we are in the city and a woman, Evelyn (Jordan Trovillion), is at an ATM when she realises that two muggers (Derek Faraci & Nathanial McClure) are behind her. She runs and they chase. She manages to mace one but ends up in a blind alley. Across the cityscape runs the Mosquito-Man (Michael Manasseri, Buffy the Vampire Slayer). He sucks the blood out of the first mugger with a long proboscis that emerges from his mouth and pierces the victim's throat (similes to the vampire work of Del Toro spring to mind) and then drains the other through his forehead. Evelyn faints.

the cops
She is being removed from the alley on a paramedic’s gurney. Two cops, hard-assed Shanahan (Monty Bane, Sleepwalkers) and Bowen (Danny Mooney), have got the case. They see the coroner (Lee Thomas) who confirms the victims have been exsanguinated. Like some kind of vampire? The coroner says no – a vampire would have left two punctures not one! So more like a mosquito then. The film then folds back to earlier that day…

Jim's having a bad day
Jim (Michael Manasseri) is a nice guy. Too nice (and unobservant) to notice that his shrew of a wife, Jackie (Kimberley Kates, Kindred: the Embraced), is cheating on him – cutting her call to her lover as he walks into the room. On his way to work he picks up co-worker Evelyn – she, it becomes apparent, is in love with him. He is hoping to get a promotion at the nuclear plant he works at but his boss, Mr Kopple (Lloyd Kaufman), promotes his rival Dan (Ted Myers) instead and sacks Jim. Jim’s car has been towed from the company parking lot as he no longer works there. On the way home he spots Jackie’s car at a motel and sees her with… you’ve guess it… Dan.

With rain falling he runs into traffic but the car heading for him stops. In it is Dave (Ricky Wayne) who takes him to a bar and gets him drunk. When Jim passes out he takes him to his lab… What I haven’t mentioned is that the world is being ravaged by a mosquito borne virus and Dave is trying to find a solution to it. He injects the insensible Jim with an experimental serum and releases mosquitoes into the room – if it works they won’t bite Jim but he is indeed, eventually, fed upon and goes into a fit and dies. His body is dumped in an alley but a swarm of mosquitoes descend on it and he suddenly revives (so, technically, he has come back from the dead). The mosquito DNA in the serum, the bites and his exposure to nuclear material causes him to mutate. He hears Evelyn scream and we are back at the scene from the start of the film. From there he starts to avenge himself on those who wronged him.

summoning the swarm
So, he is faster, stronger (he is able to punch through three inch, bullet proof glass) and at one point seems to vanish. He now sees in a compound way (his eyes have multiple pupils) and he needs to feed (and, once sated, breed). He can summon swarms of mosquitoes – sometimes, it appears, from nearby and at other times from within him. He is able to see through the eyes of his mosquito swarm. He is able to perch up walls. Much of this comes out of the vampire playbook. Daylight isn’t an issue – but in his lab Dave has a giant bug zapper! And, as I said at the start, it’s fun.

Jordan Trovillion as Evelyn
All the cast seem to be having a blast – specific mention going to Monty Bane, who is great as the hard-headed cop, and Jordan Trovillion who gives some fantastic looks and offers a solid performance. Most of all Michael Manasseri is clearly having a blast. This is not serious, how could it be, but is played with a wink and a tongue in its cheek. The film is on a budget but does great things with it, considering said budget. Its sort of a creature feature meets super (or anti) hero flick with a hybrid bug vampire. 7 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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