A nighttime party in the country, plenty of alcohol and invited guests… what more could one ask for? What seems like just another ordinary day on the job for a pair of caterers soon turns into a late night scramble for survival as they do battle with giant mutant killer wasps.
Julia (Jessica Cook) has recently inherited her deceased father’s catering business and has taken a job for Mrs. Perch (Eve Slatner) tending a wealthy residential party at a posh countryside estate. Along for the ride is Julia’s employee and semi-charming partner in crime/bartender, Paul (Matt O’Leary), for whom she has a longing disdain. Paul has his sights set on Julia, a smart, attractive, hard working woman, who appears to have no interest in him. But that doesn’t stop him from making advances towards her throughout the night in an attempt to win her over.
Accompanying Paul and Julia, partaking in the nightly gala, is horror alumni Lance Henriksen (Aliens, Pumpkinhead) who stars as Caruthers, the town Mayor, joined by the always suave and talented actor, Clifton Collins Jr. (The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, Traffic). He plays Mrs. Perch’s son, Sydney.
The night’s party is a dull wash, leading Paul to stray away and join in on some extracurricular drug use with the hired entertainment. Upon returning to the festivities, the ill-fated attendees are attacked moments later by a swarm of abnormally sized, stinger happy wasps. As the crowd fights to get free, onlookers are stung and begin mutating into giant man sized wasps. This i due to unknown plant fertilizer mixed with leftover growth hormones used by Mrs. Perch’s son Sydney on her garden.
What ensues is nothing short of madness as the guests fall one by one, while the number of enormous mutant bugs skyrockets.
For years I’ve seen monster flicks dwindle as the horror genre is straying away from this type of scare, seemingly more and more in favor of paranormal and slasher films. However, over the last decade, the few monster films that have been released are exceptional, eclipsing most of the classics in effects and visual frights. Films such as ‘Digging Up the Marrow’, ‘Exists’, ‘Super 8’ and ‘Unnatural’ have filled the space for those of us who crave our yearly monster dose.
While the acting in Stung was in no way superior, it didn’t take anything away from the film. Some might complain about the behavior of the characters, standing around while the insects swarm the party instead of running for cover. But I have to point out the fact that if the characters reacted the way movie goers would like, it would make for a very short boring sit. The naivety of the characters is something I reveled in, as it had me thinking and trying to figure out what I would do next if I was faced with the same situation.
What I really dug, was the look of the creatures. While this film does have some CGI, it utilizes more practical effects as opposed to being bogged down with computer graphics, which is normally something that tends to get on my nerves. I believe it subtracts from the realism of the film if the monster is portrayed via computer generation, giving it a more superficial vibe.
Overall I thought this film was a fun, lip-biting adventure into a monster-insect infested dimension… where no matter what you do, you can’t escape inevitability.
The creatures were very plausible, even if the way they came about wasn’t. This film is for those who are seeking a campy, entertaining, blood-soaked creature feature. In a way it reminds me of monster flicks like ‘Them’, ‘Infestation’ and ‘Eight Legged Freaks’, which each revolve around giant mutated antagonists. The plot of this film is almost nonexistent, but how much of a story can one fit into a film that is mainly consists of mutant bugs?
Lance Henriksen was great as the drunk Mayor, adding solidity to the group of actors, although it was definitely not one of his better character portrayals. However, I did feel that he was the glue that kept the film together. Clifton Collins Jr. was fabulous as Sydney Perch, giving a creepy, unsettling performance as the handicapped son who absolutely despises his bothersome mother.
The sets were excellent, and the cinematography was splendid, keeping it very open while the whole film basically takes place in one location. This is one of those films that never saw a theater, yet had the look and feel of an A class film.
One thing that peeved me about the film, was that the characters remaining after the unfortunate devastation of the party never really seemed to band together. There was no apparent camaraderie amongst the characters, which, in a situation as such, would be the only logical solution to survive. Also the setup of romantic chemistry between the two main actors seemed to slip through the cracks, failing to come across as true heartfelt passion. They appeared to gel throughout the film, except for the moments they were paired together in romantic entanglements.
But aside from those few minor aspects, this film is one of those that you can re-watch again and again and never tire of, thanks to the spectacular style and appearance of the monsters. So, if you love terrifying monsters films, give this one a spin. It’s a sure keeper for my fellow monsters out there.