(Clicking the highlighted links brings you to corresponding reviews and articles here at The Movie Madhouse!)
Stung is an old fashioned giant insect horror that is moderately fun, though could and should have been a lot more entertaining. Film has caterers Paul (Matt O’Leary) and Julia (Jessica Cook) catering a large party at a remote estate. The party comes under siege by a swarm of large, aggressive wasps whose sting implants it’s young inside a host which, in turn, grows into a creature matching the size of that in which it was laid. Soon, there are an army of human-sized wasps on a rampage and Matt and Julia are trapped with a few survivors in the estate cellar. Now the two must, somehow, find a way out, while the giant insects are quickly finding their way in.
With plenty of gooey insect FX and a lot of splattered blood and gore, this should have been a lot more fun than it is. The problem is simply some very by-the-numbers direction by Benjamin Diez from Adam Aresty’s script. With a silly script like this, Diez should have taken the ball and run with it but, despite all the gruesome insect hi-jinxs, the film moves at a very moderate pace and there is never the energy and fun of similar nature-run-amok flicks, like Piranha (either version) or the cult classic Tremors. The FX are well executed and our critters are menacing but, there is no energy to the proceedings and the attempts at humor fall flat. It’s a scenario that has fun written all over it though, director Diez isn’t able to bring it. The film is also supposed to take place in New York State but, is filmed in Germany and the location looks completely European and isn’t fooling anyone. It’s off-putting. Even the vehicles look foreign despite the left hand side steering wheel. It’s a shame. It’s a story of fertilizer-mutated wasps that could have been a real blast under the guidance of someone who just had a good time with making a bloody, slimy mess…like the recent Zombeavers, which is a good example of taking the ball and running with it. Deiz seems to take his subject far too seriously, even with the script’s attempt at humor and some of the outright goofy situations. The direction is simply too leaden and flat for material like this.
The cast are adequate but, again most of the performances are very by-the-numbers. Only genre legend Lance Henriksen seems to really be having a good time with his part as a swaggering mayor, as is Clifton Collins, Jr. as the owner’s very odd son, Sydney. Leads O’Leary and Cook are both attractive and there is the obvious cliché romantic sub-plot but, both actors are a bit bland and the chemistry between them seems forced. Out best performers are our prosthetic and CGI critters…though, in a flick like this, that’s OK.
The movie passed the time but, nothing more. It was somewhat amusing but, not the full blown blast it would have been so much better as. When you start out with a story as outrageous as this, you need to go with it and have a good time. A brooding tone and slow pace does not really fit with giant wasps bursting out of their victims at random. The leads didn’t seem to get the material and neither did the director…if he did, he didn’t convey it convincingly enough to make this a real treat.
2 and 1/2 wasps.