Despite having interesting ideas, Mosquito State is never able to grab its audience’s attention fully. Its unsubtle story hinders this flawed body horror from being something as memorable as it really should be.
On the eve of the 2007 financial crisis, in an austere penthouse overlooking Central Park, isolated and obsessive Wall Street data analyst Richard Boca (Beau Knapp) sees ominous patterns: His computer models behave erratically, as are the swarms of mosquitos breeding in his apartment. This infestation attends to his psychological meltdown. On Wall Street, they’re called “quants”—the intense data analysts whose mathematical prowess can make the difference between a fortune and a flop. Consumed with his work, Richard doesn’t often stray from his office or apartment. But when Richard decides to go to a company party hosted by his ruthless boss (Olivier Martinez), he makes two acquaintances: the mysterious Lena (Charlotte Vega) and one pesky mosquito, both of which take root in his mind, altering his existence in profound ways.
A mixture of Cronenberg body horror and a Kafka moral tale full of needlessly long scenes meant to convey its dark and intriguing mood but only leave the audience frustrated, like a mosquito waiting impatiently inside an apartment to be free. This constant dragging out of scenes is an odd choice considering Mosquito State is already running at a decent 100 minutes, so it isn’t as if there was a struggle to trim down the runtime when necessary.
What keeps you involved in the film is Richards decline in his health and his mental wellbeing. As soon as the first morning after his bite, we are under no illusion that this will not be a pleasant tale for our lead. However, as the swellings begin to cover his body with only his poor assistant, seemingly holding any level of worry for him, we see one of the points that director Filip Jan Rymsza is trying to get across. Richard is only necessary for what he offers the company and isn’t as marketable an asset as needed. The fact that this is a film filled with mosquitos about someone who works on Wall Street is hard to miss, to be honest.
Yet as things get worse and worse and the tension rises with anticipation of what Richard is either going to do or become, we become invested enough to keep going. Knapp does solid work here, yet it is Charlotte Vega who you become the most curious about. The sense of unease never leaves the film, helped greatly by that constant stream of buzzing enveloping ours and Richards ears.
What Mosquito State lacks is some areas it certainly makes up for in the production design of Richards apartment. Production designer Marek Warszewski has it looking phenomenal in that elegantly sparse way that you would expect from a character like Richard. The coldness of the industrial design allows for the lighting and Eric Koretz’s slick camera to take centre stage. In addition, the use of colours in the apartment help deliver an otherworldly feel to proceedings as the mosquitos begin to take over Richards’s life.
Mosquito State struggles by having a story that should work with the greatest of ease. But with a now stale time setting that is never really utilised enough to connect with its audience and doesn’t go far enough to recapture the audience’s attention, leaving it a film that has a clumsy narrative which is disappointing due to how slick the majority of the film is.
Mosquito State is showing on Shudder now.
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