Mansquito (2005)

Starring Corin Nemec, Musetta Vander, Patrick Dreikauss, and The Mansquito

Directed by Tibor Takacs

Saturday, March 12, 2005 – A date that will go down in history as the night the Sci-Fi Channel at long last premiered a movie made specifically for their network that was actually pretty damn entertaining. Today the sun shines a little brighter, the flowers smell that much better, the well of souls has been refilled, and I can learn to love again. Thank you, Mansquito, thank you!

Seriously though, Mansquito is a fun throwback to the b-movies of yore that’s more entertaining than it has any right to be. Perhaps it was just dumb luck or maybe the law of averages finally caught up with them but the Sci-Fi Channel finally produced a winner. What took them so long anyway?

A new strain of the flu or some virus along those lines transmitted by mosquitoes is running rampant and threatening to turn into an all-out pandemic. Dr. Sexy Brunette (the sexy brunette Musetta Vander) works in a high-tech lab conducting genetic experiments on mosquitoes in hopes of creating some genetically altered form of the bug with hopes of releasing it into the wild to mate with regular mosquitoes and thus somehow wiping out the virus. I really don’t understand how it’s actually supposed to work but then it really isn’t all that crucial to the plot. What is important is that she uses this great big experimental nuclear reactor to scramble their DNA. While her experiments are showing tremendous promise she still isn’t quite ready to experiment on a human subject. Hey, I thought the plan was to release the bugs into the wild and…Or were they trying to actually develop an outright vaccine? Eh, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it involves a great big nuclear reactor that scrambles DNA, right?

Anyway, her boss, Dr. Drunken Prick, isn’t satisfied with her progress and arranges for a human test subject to be brought to the lab for experimentation. In the grand tradition of movie concepts that always result in carnage and tragedy, that test subject just happens to be a death row convict. Sure enough, he makes a break for it in the lab right in the middle of one her mosquito DNA rescrambling experiments and the next thing you know the reactor is going boom. The sociopath ends up covered in some radioactive goo whereas Dr. Sexy Brunette only gets a little dab on her arm. The contaminated criminal still manages to escape the facility through one of those conveniently placed access tunnels but he doesn’t get too far before one of his arms morphs into a large insectoid appendage.

Dr. Sexy Brunette’s boyfriend just happens to be a cop, and not just any cop, but the cop that arrested the death row convict to begin with. See how it all comes full circle? Detective Poor Man’s Frank Whaley (TV’s “Parker Lewis” and “Stargate SG-1” alumnus Corin Nemec) consoles his girlfriend before going in pursuit of the criminal at large.

Meanwhile, Dead Man Sucking shows up at his girlfriend’s apartment and is nice enough to wait for her to come home before completing his transformation into Mansquito. After ending their relationship by going down on her in a way that only a Mansquito can, he’s off on a cross-town killing and sucking spree.

While a seven-foot, two-legged mosquito man goes around the city somehow unnoticed by everyone except his victims and Detective Poor Man’s Frank Whaley follows trying to make sense of the escaped killer’s bizarre new killing spree, Dr. Sexy Brunette begins to experience the early stages of Brundle Fly Syndrome. Remember, she only got a little bit of that gunk on her so it will take a lot longer for her to become Womansquito. Her symptoms include painful skin irritations, glowing red contact lenses, ability to see in a reddish x-ray vision that highlights a person’s arteries, a sort of “Skeeter Sense”, and a taste for blood, including taking a bite out of her boyfriend during foreplay, which judging by his lack of a strong reaction must not be all that out of the ordinary for her.

As it is soon discovered, the mosquito side of Mansquito is in complete control now and that means two things: it wants to suck more than Jenna Jameson at a vacuum cleaner convention and it really wants to get it on with a sexy brunette that’s slowly turning into a sexy brunette mosquito lady.

From there on out, it’s pretty rudimentary plot wise. Mansquito kills everyone that gets in his way as he seeks out Dr. Sexy Brunette, who keeps going back and forth between playing damsel in distress and determined scientist looking for a solution, and the only person really standing in the monster’s way is Detective Poor Man’s Frank Whaley. Can he stop the Mansquito? Hey, don’t you know Parker Lewis can’t lose? Insert rimshot and/or groans here.

Yeah, Mansquito is cheesy as hell but it has enough energy and goofy charm to gloss over the usual spate of coincidences and contrivances. Compared to most of the low budget monster movies that go direct to video or straight to cable, Mansquito is almost a minor masterpiece. The script doesn’t constantly bog itself down with tons of exposition or scenes that have nothing to do with the plot or unnecessary comic relief characters and director Tibor Takacs, no stranger to directing this sort of film having previously helmed I, Madman and both of The Gate movies, is smart enough to keep the movie going, never dwelling on any scene for too long lest you actually begin to think about it.

Oh sure, the monster has the magical ability to show up at exactly the right place at the right time, usually going unnoticed until it’s too late. Hell, there’s one scene at the lab where she gets into an argument with Dr. Drunken Prick and the moment she exits the room, and I do mean that very moment, the monster comes crashing down through the skylight to kill him. We’re just supposed to believe that Mansquito showed up to keep an eye on her at work, instantly decided to kill this jerk that upset his woman, and apparently just went home or at least elsewhere afterwards. Mansquito also just happens to be bullet proof for reasons never explained. I can accept that but then later on it turns out he’s immune to massive explosions that take out the entire floor of a building.

And if you’re just a petty security guard and you’ve just found the entire SWAT team massacred then basic human logic should tell you that you and your petty pistol are not going to stop the monster.

Still, I really didn’t mind the usual cavalcade of loopiness at all. I usually find myself keeping a mental catalog of all the contrivances, coincidences, and general stupidity when watching movies of this ilk. While I certainly couldn’t help but to take stock of a few I never found myself dwelling on them like I normally would nor did it ever impede my enjoyment of the movie. When that happens then I know the filmmakers are doing something right.

The real triumph of the film is the Mansquito itself. I’ve often decried the overuse and abuse of bad CGI in today’s low budget b-movies. Here they use it perfectly. The majority of the time the Mansquito is an old fashioned man in a rubber monster suit. A very well made rubber monster suit if I say so myself. F/X maven Tony Gardner deserves a pat on the back for this wonderfully monstrous creation. There are computer effects involved but only when you see the monster from the waist down or flying. The legs and wings have been inserted by CGI when needed. This practical combination of live action and CGI effects works beautifully. While still not 100% realistic it doesn’t hit you right between the eyes like the CGI we’ve all seen in countless other films of this type. The CGI is so well done for this type of movie I find it hard to believe.

I must say I was also quite surprised by the amount of blood on display and the amount the Sci-Fi Channel allowed to air. It had seemed relatively tame until late in the movie when Mansquito goes on a Terminator-style rampage at a hospital in pursuit of the girl. Impalings, dismemberment, and even one poor guy’s skull getting (Irony Alert!) squashed like a bug are on display. Gore itself does not impress me but when it is done well and used effectively then I do welcome the bloodshed and this hospital massacre is an outright bloodbath. Now this is the kind of nature gone amok that we want! Mansquito is a serious badass.

And it doesn’t suck either!

3 out of 5

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Jon Condit

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