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‘Mosquito State’ review: Beautiful body horror with vague story

After the House of Flies.

Mosquito State is an odd mix of The Fly (the David Cronenberg version) and The Big Short. Richard Boca (Beau Knapp) is a Wall Street data analyst who begins to notice that something is very wrong. The fluctuations in the market are bad enough, but the mosquito infestation at his apartment may be worse. Or they both may be the catalyst to begin a whole new life.

Director Filip Jan Rymsza has crafted a beautiful movie. There are dark reds and purples that permeate the film are almost otherworldly. The chapters open with painted title cards that are gorgeous to look at while eliciting emotion. Much of Mosquito State takes place in Richard’s high rise apartment that looks over the city. It is almost as if he is not a part of the real world and is just watching over it. 

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Fittingly, everything that happens in the world of Mosquito State seems confined to Richard and his life. The changes inside his home seem to have no effect on the rest of the world. His physical transformation is noticeable, but also makes little difference to others. There is an easy analogy here regarding how bloodsuckers can take away one’s humanity, but this is also just one person’s tale.

If that is the point of the film all along, it is clumsily done. This has nothing to do with the mosquitoes, but with what is happening around Richard. Mosquito State takes place in 2007. Anyone who overlooked the the text in the beginning stating this will be constantly reminded. There are television clips of Obama and Hilary Clinton verbally sparring, news reports of Rupert Murdoch’s news empire, and even Donald Trump in his reality TV days. The movie clearly has a lot to say about American society; it just does not do it all that well.

Few will find complaint with the body horror, however. Things never go full on Cronenberg, but this does not make them any less disgusting. This includes multiple scenes of Richard’s disfigured face and the sores over his body. Arguably, the close-ups of mosquitoes laying eggs may be more discomforting. Many will find Mosquito State difficult to look at.

It is obvious from the title sequence this is going to be a different type of Wall Street movie. The handsome illustrations mixed with shots of a mosquito’s development cycle is something right out of a B horror movie. Mosquito State aims for deep social commentary but just misses the mark. Still, Beau Knapp’s performance and some great visuals and audios make this an entertaining watch.

Mosquito State comes to Shudder August 26

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