‘You won’t feel a thing’
Killer Mosquitos is a 2018 Italian horror feature film about a group of young people attacked by giant mutant horseflies. Also known as Tafanos and Kiffer vs Killer Mosquitos. In 2021, The Asylum retitled the movie Insect for a March 26th US
Back in 2018, before we had murder hornets to worry about there was only one insect we all feared, mosquitoes. And with summer about the herald their return, what better time for a film called Killer Mosquitos (aka Tafanos)? Yes, I know the title is spelt incorrectly, and if you know Italian, you know “tafanos” are horseflies, not mosquitoes. Not good omens at all. But the plot and stills for the most recent film from Riccardo Paoletti (Neverlake) seemed too good to pass up.
Johannes (Giulio Greco, Hard Night Falling), Sylvie (Cristina Marino) and friends are college students including heading for a villa in the Italian countryside. It’s summer and they intend to party, smoke weed and frolic in bed. We know this isn’t going to end well. They’ve barely arrived when the news reports a mass murderer (Salvatore D’Onofrio) has escaped from prison, And then the power goes out. A sinister-looking figure turns up at the door, but it’s just Lionel (Clive Riche) the caretaker with a warning. There’s a swarm of giant horseflies coming, and if they don’t do something they’re all “f-u-k-t fukt.”
And what can they do? Well, they can do what he’s been doing to survive, stay stoned. It seems the only things that repel the creatures are water and THC. Thankfully these are college students here to party. But will even their supply be enough?
Obviously, Killer Mosquitos isn’t meant to be taken too seriously. Paoletti and writers Giacomo Durzi and Andrea Garello based the film on a short by the Dipteros. He also cites ’80s films such as Tremors as inspiration. This is fitting because the film does resemble Grabbers, the Irish film that was Tremors in a pub, where the only way to stay safe was to stay drunk.
But what Killer Mosquitos really reminded me of was films like Ticks with its pot-related subplot. And the conspiracy angle of The Nest. And the mutated bugs eating and/or laying eggs in people, toxic chemicals and gory effects from both. Granted this one has some weak CGI along with the practical gore while both of them were from the pre-computer effects era.
Along the way, there’s a parody of Hollywood Western gunfights, the obligatory creeping around in the basement scene, and plenty of stoner jokes. There’s even a horsefly that looks like it flew in from AC/DC’s video for ‘Fly on the Wall’, speaking of the ’80s.
Killer Mosquitos is enjoyably silly fun. The kind of thing that’s perfect for a warm evening and a few beers. Or bowls. Just don’t pay to much attention to whatever is buzzing around your head while you’re watching.
Jim Morazzini, guest reviewer via Voices from the Balcony
Cast and characters:
Stefano Chiodaroli … Contadino
Maria Chiara Giannetta … Christine
Giulio Greco … Johannes
Salvatore Langella … David
Cristina Marino … Mauro
Andrea Scarduzio … Secret Agent
Filippo Tirabassi … Ricky
Lana Vlady … Rebecca
Ciro Buono … Guard (uncredited)
This is a remake of the film Tafanos (2000) directed by Dipteros and Giudice.