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I cannot stress enough that this film falls firmly into the ‘be patient’ basket.

I really struggled with the opening 30 minutes of the movie that seemingly dragged along at a snail’s pace. And it didn’t help that the dialogue is dripping with a specialised niche dialogue that smacks of wankdom, but this is exactly the intricacy of its lead that cements and provides a complex character. 

The cinematography is equally stylised and polished to encompass the lifestyle and setting that elevates the feel of the movie, but could easily be strained too far… That is until the storyline sets and takes effect.

It’s clear that Director Filip Jan Rymsza is drawn to the inner psychosis of humanity and here he infuses it into the biological makeup of mosquitos, and juxtaposes this imagery alongside that of honeybees. All of which is embedded in the murky depths of trading and the stride towards success. But what exactly defines success? This defines the moral of the film.

As mentioned, our lead character, Richard (Beau Knapp) is a quirky and lonely figure, driven by his compulsive obsession with financial data, analysing the movements in trading figures. In many ways the symbolism of his character reflects the tragic gothic figure Quasimodo from Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame,  isolated in his tower, in this instance the apartment overlooking Central Park in New York.

His stride for perfection is what initially steers his love interest, Lena (Charlotte Vega – Wrong Turn, The Lodgers) away, but there is a hint of a connection that doesn’t deter Richard in his pursuit. 

The mosquitos too are part of this imagery that surrounds Richard’s psychological collapse and the infestation that has taken hold of both the apartment and his state of mind. The contagion soon takes hold of Richard and us (the viewer) embedding into the psyche and dictating his every action and one that is represented in his own disfigurement as he becomes a walking human feeding/breeding ground for the parasite.

It is this incubation that can ensnare you and for me lifts the film into a loftier response. Once Richard starts to fall from the successful heights embedded in his own ambition, he not only gains in confidence, breaking out of his shell, but subjects himself deeper into isolation and on to a journey that only some can follow.

The Diagnosis:

This movie is highly intelligent and beautifully shot. It’s the kind of film that gets under your skin.

It takes a while for it to take effect but once it does it pulls you in and infects you.

There are many elements at play with each layer revealing the dark truth behind the powers and money of the world.

Mosquito State has successfully infested my mind, a mark for me is always an important ingredient in filmmaking.

I’m still letting it resonate as I write this but I find at this stage I’ve fallen for its charm and lulled by the hypnotic score.

  • Saul Muerte

Mosquito State streams on Shudder from Thursday, August 26th.