Monday, July 13, 2015

Stung Review (2015)

Benni Diez’s “Stung” is the low budget, goofy, creature feature you would expect it to be and nothing more.  It’s mildly entertaining while you watch but instantly evaporates once the end credits role.

Contaminated wasps terrorize a get-together happening at a country mansion. For whatever reason the frantic guests stand around in the midst of the swarm for upwards of five minutes, even though they could easily run into the house. Nobody ever knows what to do during a horror movie.

From there, Diez keeps things simple and claustrophobic. When the five remaining party attendants hole up in the basement of the mansion it becomes “Night of the Living Wasps.” The mini wasps lay eggs in the humans, at which point car sized wasps burst out of them in the vein of “Alien.” It’s going to be a long night, folks.

And well…that’s about it. It’s difficult to review a movie like “Stung” because there isn’t much to say. The screenplay by Adam Aresty is underwhelming, yielding no real surprises in terms of narrative. You can see every major revelation, trope and plot point coming-- the initial outbreak, the climactic scene in the wasp nest, a budding romance between two “unlikely” people, the final stinger--no pun intended--and the final final stinger. The dialogue often feels strained; most of the attempts at quips and comedic one-liners end up falling flat and feeling forced. The premise of the movie is already so ridiculous that there’s no need to try overly hard to be goofy and self-aware.

The characters are skin deep, although at least they’re somewhat likable and don’t spend whole movie making stupid decisions. The two young leads, Julia (Jessica Cook) and Paul (Matt O’ Leary) turn out to be capable, resourceful survivalists. There’s also Clifton Collins Jr. as Sydney, a weirdo with a humpback doing his very best Crispin Glover impression, which makes for a few funny moments. The rest of the humans are just wasp fodder.

Not surprisingly the special effects are the best part about “Stung.” As far as I can tell, all of the stuff involving the giant wasps—except the flying scenes—is done with practical effects. Lots of colorful, sticky wasp goo is shed throughout. The scenes in which the mega wasps break out of their human hosts are awesomely disturbing. And, in a nice added touch, the human heads often remain attached to the front legs of the wasps.

However even these practical effects, cool as they may be, only provide surface level thrills that wear off quickly. In fact, the whole movie wears off rather quickly. Only the most dedicated B monster movie connoisseurs will want to watch “Stung.”


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