In MOSQUITO STATE, isolated in his austere penthouse overlooking Central Park, obsessive Wall Street data analyst Richard Boca (Beau Knapp) sees ominous patterns: His computer models are behaving erratically, as are the swarms of mosquitos breeding in his apartment, an infestation that attends his psychological meltdown.
I recently had the opportunity to preview an upcoming new Shudder Exclusive called MOSQUITO STATE that tells the story of a Wall Street data analyst who suffers both a financial market collapse as well as an overwhelming infestation of mosquitos in his NYC apartment. This led to my interviewing Filip Jan Rymsza, co-writer and director of MOSQUITO STATE.
Throughout the course of our conversation, we discussed the inspiration and meaning behind this unique genre-bender, the signficance of placing the film in 2007, and what fans can expect in the future.63
First off, MOSQUITO STATE was quite the uncomfortable watch considering it tapped into what is likely the most loathed of all insects. As a fan of horror movies, I of course loved this aspect. The more uncomfortable the better! What inspired you to make a movie involving mosquitos?
Filip Jan Rymsza: My friend Mario [Zermeno], who’s credited as the co-writer, experienced a similar episode – his downtown LA apartment became infested with mosquitos – which struck me as strangely cinematic.
MOSQUITO STATE is being released as a Shudder Exclusive. What was it like working on a horror movie, considering your previous work has been more dramatic?
Filip Jan Rymsza: I didn’t set out to make a film within a specific genre, so the horror label surprised me. If it’s a horror, then it’s on the fringe. I was pleased when Shudder programmed a film like Mandy, which plays with genre tropes, but is a purely hallucinatory vision, as well as the recent additions of Dogtooth and Borgman, which really broaden that label.
Richard, our protagonist, works as a programmer on Wall Street. What was the motivation to make Richard’s character a wealthy recluse?
Filip Jan Rymsza: I modeled Richard based on a quantitative analyst from Michael Lewis’ Flash Boys. That was my jumping-off point.
What is the significance of this movie taking place in 2007, prior to the stock market crash?
Filip Jan Rymsza: That particular week, starting on August 3rd, was oddly foretelling in terms of technology, sports, journalism, politics, pop culture, and, of course, economics – which, on August 8th, led BNP Paribas to declare “a total lack of liquidity in the market.” We had all been sucked dry… we just wouldn’t know it for another year.
Of all the film genres you’ve been involved in, which would you say is your favorite and why?
Filip Jan Rymsza: Again, I’m a bad judge of this because I don’t look at films through the prism of genre. I like works that challenge and surprise… and those that tend to defy easy categorization.
Which films, in any genre, have been the most influential to you?
Filip Jan Rymsza: Adam Curtis’ “documentary” HyperNormalisation informed aspects of MOSQUITO STATE. Here are a few films that continue to fascinate and inspire me: L’Intrus, Karaoke, Le Femme Publique, Demonlover, The Element of Crime, Under the Skin, Primer, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, La Planète sauvage, Minagoroshi no reika, Belly, Lost Highway, Izgnanie, and Burning.
Do you have any other projects we should look out for?
Filip Jan Rymsza: I’m in early prep on a film titled Object Permanence. While MOSQUITO STATE looks into the past, this one gazes into the future.
MOSQUITO STATE is now available to watch exclusively on Shudder. To learn more about the film, check out our review!