Stung (2015) [FrightFest 2015]

stung-2015-poster

FrightFest 2015

Julia has inherited her father’s catering company and has a big event to work at Mrs. Perch’s estate. This is a yearly event and is attended by the most affluent people in town; it could make or break her. To help her out, she has hired bartender Paul who has a less than subtle crush on her. Mrs. Perch and her son Sydney are what some might call a bit eccentric and their mansion also has a beautiful greenhouse filled with very lush plants and flowers. As Julia, Paul, and a stoner musician hired for entertainment prepare for the event, slightly bigger than usual wasps come out of an in ground nest quickly becoming a pest but no more than regular bugs. After the dinner guests arrive and start mingling, more and more wasps show up. Soon the mayhem starts as really big wasps take over and attack the guests, implanting their eggs in them which eventually burst out of their human hosts as even bigger wasps looking to attack anything that moves.

This incredible, insane story was written by Adam Aresty for whom this is a first feature. The story here is like most giant bug ones, where it requires a degree of suspension of disbelief, but also like other giant bug movies, it’s a lot of fun. The characters here, for the most part, are believable with a few extra touches to have them make sense in their situation. At the same, of course, some others are over the top, but they are also entertaining.

The Director of Stung, Benni Diez, is also a make-up effects artist which explains all the gooey, gory goodness in the film. The effects here add to the fun as they are explosive and all over the place, something that is almost only good in this type of movies. Stung has someone in charge of animatronics, which will make old school horror fans happy when they see their work. One particular gag with the character of Sydney Perch is quite gross and memorable, but won’t be discussed in detail to avoid spoiling it.

Acting around all those bugs and effects are a core cast composed of Jessica Cook as Julia, Matt O’Leary as Paul, Clifton Collins Jr. as Sydney, and Lance Henriksen as Caruthers. Jessica Cook and Matt O’Leary carry most of the movie and play bewildered by-standers thrown into an insane situation and forced to become heroes very well. Their love story does not feel too forced but is definitely put in the movie with the purpose of upping the stakes for both characters. They thankfully have good chemistry and look like they could make a good couple. Lance Henriksen gives a performance like can be expected of him in this kind of film. He knows the material and could do this in his sleep, yet he brings it and makes the part his own. Clifton Collins Jr. is the one with the odd part here. His character of Sydney is under his mother’s powers until she is not there anymore, then he turns more maniacal. His performance is a bit caricatural and over the top, but this is not bad here, it fits with the character and the crazy situation. There rest of the cast is also good but do not get much screen time, hence their performances as bug fodder do not have as much impact.

Stung is a fun, big bug movie, in the vein of Big Ass Spider. It’s a movie that even casual horror fans can enjoy. It’s fun, it’s gooey, it’s over the top, it should be seen on the biggest screen you can, especially if wasps are scary to you.