Sunday, December 24, 2017

Weresquito: Nazi Hunter – review

Director: Christopher R. Mihm

Release date: 2016

Contains spoilers

When I looked at the flick Mansquito I did so as an ‘Honourable mention’ on the basis that it was of genre interest but the lack of self-awareness in our victim/villain made it difficult to rationalise any other way than he was a man-sized mosquito. This is not the case here, our primary is very much self-aware.

I will say at the outset, however, that the blood sucking way of the mosquito is a trait of the female of the species – the male would more likely suck sap from trees… Ok, mentioned, we won’t return to that factoid.

We begin with a black screen, the sound of a woman’s heavy breathing and the muffled sound of shouting and breaking objects. Then we see, in a chink of light, that the woman (Christi Jean Williams) is in a cupboard, hiding. The door is broken, punched through, by a monstrous hand and then we see the giant mosquito head… The black and white theme is carries on through the film, adding a dimension, rather than taking away. The film reminded me very much of a 50s drivethru and kudos for adding that genuine nostalgia into the film.

James Norgard as Schramm
A man awakens and we see in blurry POV that he is in some form of hospital or laboratory. Implements adorn the walls as does a portrait of Hitler. The man realises he is chained. Into the room comes Schramm (James Norgard), mad Nazi scientist who refers to the man as Little Piggy. He talks to the man (and mocks him also) and we glean that he intends to experiment on him. That he deems the man hardy enough to survive *the process*. He is an American soldier, his tank became an inferno but he managed to escape it, was shot 17 times but is still alive.

awakening on the road
Years later and the man awakens on the road. He is John Baker (Douglas Sidney) and there is a spot of blood at his mouth – note that blood is red in this, stark against the black and white. He wipes it away with his hand. He follows the road into New Berlin. In a diner a man addresses the waitress, Leisl (Rachel Grubb), in German. She reminds him to use English. Now this isn’t some alternate America, where the Nazi’s won the war, but a town with a large German immigrant population. Baker comes in and the man notices blood on his mouth. Don’t worry, Baker reassures, it isn’t his.

Rachel Grubb as Leisl
When alone with the waitress he asks her if she knows anyone named Schramm – an old war buddy. She doesn’t. He also asks if there is a room for rent. A drunk man, Eric (Daniel Sjerven), enters – he is Leisl’s ex and demands she comes with him, which she resists. John gets involved, saves the girl and is offered a room at hers. At hers Eric comes around again, Leisl is knocked out and at the sight of her blood he changes. When Leisl comes around John suggests he dealt with Eric (by talking him round) and she lets him know that one of his leads, Hans Gruber (Christian Finch), does live in town.

confronting Gruber
So, clearly many of these upstanding US citizens were actually German collaborators and know the whereabouts of Schramm. Schramm himself has created the weresquito and so let us address the “were” aspect. Stoker suggested, “The Wehr-Wolf is but a variant of the Vampire” (Lady of the Shroud), but as the genres developed the werewolf and vampire parted company to quite an extent (which left a trope of bad blood between them and pitched them, often, as enemies). However this is not a were-wolf but a were-mosquito and so that traditional connection is strengthened by the fact that the mosquito drinks blood.

the weresquito
Indeed Schramm suggests (when experimenting on John) that blood will be all he needed to keep going as a super soldier. Schramm also has given John a trigger (and we see that he cannot change by force of will alone), which is the sight of blood. Of course John can force himself to see blood (by cutting his hand, for instance) and force a change. His turn back is after he is spent (there is a degree of Hulk envisioned here, he even mutters a “you wouldn’t like me” line). However when the weresquito he is mentally absolutely still John; aware of what he is doing and able to communicate.

Douglas Sidney as Baker
The film is clearly a budget one, but the black and white brought 50s 'B' to mind and the budget, therefore fit. The physical effects aren’t marvellous but they are adequate due to the deliberate pitching at the drive-in level. The film is 71 minutes so doesn’t outstay its welcome and there is a genuine chemistry between Douglas Sidney and Rachel Grubb that carries the viewer along – indeed Sidney comes across as very personable and very natural in his performance generally. I rather enjoyed this one, as budget and 'B' as it is (or because of that). 6 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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