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    Ian Jane
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  • Mosquito



    Released by: Synapse Films
    Released on: October 13th, 2015.
    Director: Gary Jones
    Cast: Gunnar Hansen, Ron Asheton, Steve Dixon, Rachel Loiselle, Tim Lovelace
    Year: 1995
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Directed by Gary Jones, Mosquito starts out with a scene where something falls from space and lands in rural Michigan. Radiation oozes out and contaminates the local mosquitoes in the area - this is made evident early on when we meet Megan (Rachel Loiselle) and Ray (Tim Lovelace), a boyfriend/girlfriend team on their way to drop Megan off at her new job as a ranger at a campground. They hit…. something on the way there. Megan notes that it's an insect and wants to bring it somewhere to be studied but Ray's not having any of it.

    When the couple winds up with car trouble, a kindly scientist named Parks (Steve Dixon) offers to drive them to the campground. When they arrive, campers and rangers alike are all dead, many of them with holes in their chests and much of the blood sucked out of their bodies. The only survivor is a ranger named Hendricks (Ron Asheton, yes, the Ron Asheton of Iggy And The Stooges fame!) and he tells them that they need to escape while they still can. They hop into an RV and hit the road.

    Meanwhile, a gang of bank robbers led by a guy named Earl (Gunnar Hansen) have escaped from the city and are hoping to make it to the safety of the woods and hideout for a while. When they convince our heroes that they're stranded motorists in need of help they stop to give them assistance but soon find out what Earl and his younger brother Junior (Mike Hard) are really up to. Tensions flare and eventually the RV gets trashed - will our heroes (and our villains) be able to make it to safety or will the hordes of giant mosquitoes in the area killing off every horny camper they can find have their way with them too?

    Gary Jones worked on Evil Dead II and Army Of Darkness in a special effects capacity and it's not such a surprise to see that Mosquito, also known as Night Swarm, has the same sort of crazy vibe to it that some of Raimi's pictures do. It's not as polished as those efforts and was obviously made on a low budget but the effects set pieces and pre-CGI era killer mosquitoes are awesome enough that it almost doesn't matter. The movie also mixes horror and comedy in similar ways to what we've seen from Raimi and his crew, and at the same time it manages to wear some other obvious influences plainly on its sleeve: Night Of The Living Dead, Alien and maybe not so surprisingly given Hansen's presence, Texas Chain Saw Massacre too.

    As to the acting? Well, nobody here is going to blow you away but they all seem to be having fun in their respective roles and that fun can be pretty infectious. Ray's the macho tough guy you'd expect him to be and Tim Lovelace does fine in that part. Rachel Loiselle is pretty enough to work as the female lead and actually convincing enough when she has to say sciencey things that we can buy the fact that she knows what she's talking about. Steve Dixon as the kindly scientist just comes across as a nice, likable guy while Ron Asheton plays the rather dim-witted lone survivor of the campground slaughter as appropriately dopey. Gunnar Hansen? Well, he's not the most enthusiastic performer when it comes to line delivery but he's big and burly and looks like he could eat you from breakfast, so he works here too. Again, nobody is really stretching the boundaries of performance but the story doesn't need them to, not when you've got scores of giant mosquitoes flying all over the place.

    Giant mosquitoes? Gratuitous nudity? Dopey comedy? Awesome practical in-camera effects work? Yep, this one has all of those and more. There are no false pretenses here. The movie is lean, efficient, it doesn't mess around - it just gets right down to giant bug related business and runs with it.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Mosquito arrives on Blu-ray from Synapse Films framed at 1.78.1 in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer. The movie was mostly, but not entirely, shot on 16mm but some of the effects scenes were shot on 35mm. The transfer itself, taken from a 3k restoration, used the director's own 35mm inter-negative as its source. Some scenes do look softer than others for this reason but by and large the transfer here is quite sharp and impressive in its detail. Colors look really good here too, and black levels are nice and deep. For the most part the picture is also surprisingly clean, clear and free of serious print damage. Grain is prevalent, as you'd expect given who the movie was, but never distracting. It's actually really surprising just how good this movie looks in high definition.

    Audio chores are handled by an English language DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio track and the remix here is pretty damned impressive. There's a LOT of really noticeable channel separation going on anytime that the mosquitoes show up, with the bugs zipping left and right and from front to back. It's enough to take you by surprise and keep you engaged by the various directional effects employed throughout the movie. At the same time, balance is always pretty much flawless - meaning you won't have any trouble understanding the dialogue over top of the score and the effects. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion and there's good depth and range throughout. is An alternate English language Dolby Digital 2.0 track is also included here as are removable subtitles in English (SDH), Spanish, French, and German.

    The main extra on the disc is a commentary track with co-writer/director Gary Jones who is joined by co-producer David Thiry and co-writer/cinematographer Tom Chaney and it's a pretty engaging talk about what went into getting this movie made. They talk about some of the influences that inspired them, the locations used for the shoot, working with the different cast members, the more effects intensive scenes and how they were pulled off and more. They also talk about some of the changes that were made to the planned story-line that had to be made during filming to accommodate budgetary slips and how they wound up recruiting anybody that they could to pitch in and help out on the film.

    It's an interesting track and definitely worth a listen, but the real crown jewel of the extras on this disc is the seventy-five minute long feature length documentary Bugging Out: The Making Of Mosquito. Seriously, this thing is almost as long as the movie itself! Put together by Red Shirt Pictures it's a mix of interviews, archival behind the scenes footage and newly shot footage where some of the filmmakers revisit the locations used in the film. Jones, Thiry and Chaney show up here but so too does a man named Lee Jacobson who helped fun the film and cast members Josh Becker, Tim Lovelace, Rachel Loiselle, Margaret Gomoll, Gunnar Hansen and Mike Hard - as such, we get input from a LOT of the people who made this movie happen and this is one of those cases where everybody involved has at least one or two good stories to tell. This ridiculously comprehensive piece covers pre-production, the actual shoot itself and some of the legitimately dangerous things that happened while the movie was being made, the effects work, the different characters that appear in the movie and how the actors tried to tackle them, the difficulties of nudity, the film's eventual distribution and more. There's also a fair bit of discussion about how much everyone who was involved with this seemed to love the late Ron Asheton. This is not only interesting and informative but often times quite funny too. If you are even remotely interested in the back story behind Mosquito, don't miss out on this.

    There's more than that though - the disc also includes roughly seven minutes of deleted scenes and extended scenes: some bits and pieces that explain the bank robbers presence in the movie, some back and forth between Josh Becker and Ron Asheton and an extended ending. This is complimented by about forty minutes of behind the scenes footage shot during the production. There's a ton of stuff here, from footage showing the effects team doing their thing to clips with the cast working through various scenes and a lot more. Jones offers optional commentary over the deleted scenes and the BTS footage, noting why the material was excised for the former and providing context for the later.

    Rounding out the extras are a trailer for the film under the alternate Night Swarm title, a fairly massive still gallery, menus and chapter selection - and hey, check out that slick reversible cover art too - always a nice touch.

    The Final Word:

    Mosquito is pretty entertaining stuff, warts and all. It's fast paced, gory and funny and the effects set pieces hold up really well too. The Blu-ray release from Synapse? It's pretty much definitive. The presentation is top notch and the extras are comprehensive, interesting and just as much fun as the feature itself.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





















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