Directed by Benni Diez
Written by Adam Aresty
Starring Matt O’Leary, Jessica Cook, Eve Slatner, Clifton Collins Jr. and Lance Henriksen
In a plot churned out from the schlock-pot simmering away in the Syfy/Asylum kitchen, comes this film; a B movie farce involving mutant wasps attacking a catered garden party. Here’s the stinger (er..), victims of the insects don’t simply succumb to the attack nor do they, say reanimate as zombies. These poor unlucky inviduals end up gestating another mutant inside their body until it explodes out from their corpse, producing a man size voracious bug-beast! It is with this tongue-meet-cheek mentality that this gruesome little shocker comes out way.
Indeed Stung is an entertaining film, acted with scene chewing aplomb by veterans and rookies alike. Our two young lead are A-Ok but props go to a pair of vets for keeping things moving. Clifton Collins is a weaselly delight (and a trooper considering the bulk of effects he endures) and journeyman Lance Henriksen brings some misguided serious gravitas (more on that later) to the proceedings. The man is a legend and I can’t help but feel his presence coupled with the chest-burster style effects are intended to be an Alien homage.
This plenty of gruesome effects to be had, lending an awkward balance of extraordinary (the practical makeup effects), the decent (the animatronics) and the Oh, Come On (The CGI). Luckily the giant flying monstrosities are scarcely used save for the finale and the delightfully gruesome body-horror effects are more plentiful. Plenty of gory stuff and it’s for the mot part quite impressive.
On the downside, the film suffers a bit of an identity crisis. The plot is just silly and as such one would expect this to be pure splatstick comedy. Yet the film takes itself oddly seriously. Evident by a long winded exposition laden soliloquy during downtime from Henriksen, attempts at tragedy and an action based, explosion packed end sequence. It also starts a little slowly too, so many of our characters simply swat individual bugs away, one would think they’re watching a commercial for Raid or Orkin. So for all the human-bug body explosions, mutant hybrids and gigantic killer insects running around, we find ourselves subject to attempts at character development and strong, emotion. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, I applaud the writer for trying something new. But it just doesn’t really work in this environment. It’s not exactly Sharknado, but the premise is silly enough that the film should probably be played for laughs.
Overall, it’s not a bad film. It’s received a lot of flack but I had fun watching it. I enjoyed watching two vets give it their all and probably wonder exactly what was going on around them. I enjoyed the gruesome effects and unique take on body horror. I enjoyed the general B movie vibe despite some misguided attempts to feel “epic”. Stung isn’t going to set the world alight or likely be remembered as a highlight in anyone’s portfolio but its’s a fun, silly watch that could certainly be worse.
3/5 explosive bug births
Splatter Factor: 3.5/5 *** Stung is actually gorier than one would expect. This is, of course, courtesy of the bug-hybrid-violent-birth effects that would cause Cronenberg to pause, take a closer look and say “Hm, that’s not too bad.” There’s plenty of instances of bug limbs thrusting out from inside bodies, wasp heads exploding through chests and even folks with half formed insects sticking out of their flesh. Couple this with general kills involving impalements and beheadings and you’ve got a solid red mess. ***
The Collective Speaks:
Something lurks, squirming beneath your pink, putrid flesh. Ah yes, it is the brethren of another hive, one is many and one is all. We’re ever present before humanity’s fall. And such. Really now, all premonition aside, we found this film to be silly, stupid and pleasantly fun. And before you ask, NO, the Collective does not assimilate via stinger. We prefer to infect on a more..psychological level. Much more interesting…