Review: Stung

A fancy garden party turns into upper class prey when a colony of killer wasps mutates into seven foot tall predators.


A decent level of chemistry between two convincing leads can’t save Stung, a limp horror-comedy creature-feature that shoots for Zombeavers-esque midnight-movie fun, but lands disappointingly wide of the mark with an end result that’s not so much outrightly terrible as it is wrenchingly dull.

Our story begins with Paul (Matt O’Leary) and Julia (Jessica Cook) on their way to the countryside to cater a garden party at a rural mansion. This journey provides the most laughs, although that’s more to do with Cook and O’Leary doing the comedic heavy lifting than any particular inspiration from the script. As they arrive and the pieces of the story (scarce as they are) start to fall into place, what begins to feel like a slump around the fifteen minute mark is actually Stung lolling into a rote, tired autopilot it won’t shake until the credits roll.

With the party in full flow, a mishap involving fertiliser results in the party becoming infested with giant killer wasps. As the blood starts spilling in increasingly graphic ways, the heightening anarchy does little to offer anything in the way of either scares or laughs, and little is left to distract from the film’s visual, dramatic and comedic impotence as it shuffles rather than shambles to its over-long third act and needlessly protracted ending.

Strong performances from O’Leary, Cook and the ever-solid Clifton Collins Jr. struggle to make themselves visible amidst prevailing mediocrity here, and the chances are that you’ll find yourself well on the way to forgetting Stung before it’s even made it over the finish line. Aspiring for comedy-horror but never really getting a handle on either, this is bland, inessential stuff that never packs the bite (or indeed sting) that it thinks it does.



To finish off opening night at this year’s Frightfest we certainly got a film that would keep us awake if nothing else. Delivering on silly and fun levels Stung was certainly entertaining. Reminiscent of amusing creature flicks such as Eight Legged Freaks and previous Frightfest hit Infestation this is quirky, likeable and just your average Saturday night kind of entertainment. It does exactly what it says on the tin!

If you’re looking for something easy to watch and happy to not take itself too seriously then this one’s for you. Caterer’s Paul (Matt O’ Leary) and Julia (Jessica Cook) get caught up in a horrific nightmare of giant killer wasps when they are hired to work at a fancy garden party. The hosts’ illegally imported plant fertiliser just so happens to have caused the insects to grown insanely large and go on a killing spree. Can Paul, Julia and the guests make it out alive before they become one of them?

Sure this film is a little silly and nothing we haven’t seen before but there are enough shocks, and lashings of over the top gore to sustain your interest for 85 minutes. Although it’s not as good as the aforementioned films it is quirky and somewhat likeable. Matt O’ Leary is charismatic and charming as the young hero – trying to get the girl and save the day – it’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it! Lance Henrikson is also a great addition to the cast and makes the film worth watching just to see him make a welcoming comeback to the big screen! One thing’s for sure, this certainly kept us awake as the closing film of the opening night and got us going for the next four days of Frightfest fun!



I have to start by saying that horror involving creatures, aliens or animals is something I normally avoid so there was very little enthusiasm towards this movie to begin with, bar it sounding like a fun late night flick at this year’s Film 4 Frightfest. And to be fair to it, it delivered more than I was expecting it to and here is why.

STUNG is a simple idea of a movie, a couple who provide a catering service are invited to a huge summer garden party and this is where it all kicks off as a batch of toxic fertilizer escapes into the ground and contaminates the wasp eggs that are nestled beneath the surface. What results are killer seven foot wasps attacking the guests in a variety of gruesome ways and this film doesn’t fall short of gory effects as the wasps close in for the kill. It’s all very silly campy fun but that is what made it a fun watch, albeit somewhat flawed.

I loved the two lead characters and thought they bounced off each other very well; some of the other cast seemed to be there just to make up the numbers and to give the story some running time. The wasps themselves were well created and whilst not scary, this is a movie that you can have some fun with if watched with little expectation and in the right setting. The time that I watched it I thought was a perfect venue with the perfect crowd and I’m not sure if this will carry over onto watching this at home on DVD.

I liked the humour of this film, there were plenty of moments that made me laugh and overall it works but only just. It wings it by creating two leads that you like, a story that kind of works and effects that aren’t too reliant on the CGI. It was a great late night movie and if you want something that doesn’t require too much effort to watch then STUNG may well be the movie for you. Not without its weaknesses but not enough to drag it down from being fun to being dire. Those who love creature horror I’m sure will love it and if like me you don’t then you will still find an OK movie which just does enough to entertain.


Stung is out On DVD on the 26th October 2015

Final-Score

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