Stung Movie Review
Written by Daniel Benson
Released by Entertainment One
Directed by Benni Diez
Written by Adam Aresty
2015, 87 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 26th October 2015
Clifton Collins Jr. as Sydney
Jessica Cook as Julia
Tony de Maeyer as Doc Withney
Lance Henriksen as Caruthers
Florentine Lahme as Gweneth
David Masterson as Mr. Markham
Matt O'Leary as Paul
It’s a creature feature of venomous proportions as director Benni Diez kicks it old school with some fantastic practical effects and a playful sense of fun that’s missing from a lot of modern horror. When new business owner Julia (Jessica Cook) gets a chance to cater to an upper class garden party with her slacker boyfriend Paul (Matt O’Leary) she isn’t banking on some uninvited guests crashing the party with gruesome results.
Harking back to the mutated insect movies that rose to popularity in the 50s and never really went away, Stung takes a much more practical approach to the genre. Moving away from relying almost entirely on CGI like recent efforts such as Dragon Wasps, Camel Spiders and The Hive, this movie brings the camp thanks to its not always convincing yet always impressive effects work and a cast that seems totally invested in entertaining the audience.
The story is a simple one, involving some experimental growth hormones that have been leaking into the soil where wasps are nesting, and lends itself to the unrelenting action. Once everything kicks off, it keeps going at a breakneck pace and doesn’t let up until the final credits roll. There are some neat ideas on display too, with those stung by the giant mutant insects immediately morphing into human/wasp hybrids in the most satisfyingly gory way. Even more impressive is the remnants of their human form left dangling tantalisingly from their legs, pincers and antennae. Flesh, grue and even split-open heads remind us of who each particular creature used to be. With shades of Carpenter’s The Thing and even Aliens running through it, Stung delivers on all levels.
The lead roles are in good hands with Jessica Cook and Matt O’Leary, who display some good onscreen chemistry. Backing them up are a supporting cast that includes Clifton Collins Jr. (Pacific Rim, Transcendence), as the creepy son of the garden party host, and veteran actor Lance Henriksen as an amusingly drunken old curmudgeon who only shows up for the booze.
As a first feature for its director, Stung is an absolute triumph. For a director to move from shorts to a full-length movie that delivers this much excitement, gore and sheer entertainment is outstanding. Someone give this man a budget, because he’s going to be able to work wonders with it. Actually, scratch that, he’s already done great things with a presumably small budget here, just let him make more horror movies like this.