Who hasn’t had a picnic or party ruined by by bees, hornets or worst of all wasps? Flying, buzzing, stinging insects are the bane of summertime fun, and Stung takes this to a whole new level.
At a posh garden party, which happens to be make or break for the company catering it, things are getting very broken indeed. Boredom has set in to the point where the guests are mocking the caterers when one of the guests suffers what seems like a seizure. But it’s not food poisoning, it’s something much worse, mutant wasps laying eggs in human hosts. Those eggs rapidly hatch and emerge in messy fashion as giant mutant wasps. The party guests are quickly whittled down to a few survivors and a battle for survival begins, one that it will take more than a can of Raid to win.
Stung is a throwback to the classic creature feature, albeit one spiced up with modern gore and effects. The giant critters have a silly explanation, a home brew mixture of insect killer and growth hormone, and they exist simply to kill with not even a pretense of logic or an explanation of how a seven foot wasp could function. They just show up, and in the tradition of Them!, Tarantula and Empire of the Ants bring death and destruction with them.
The survivors barricade themselves in the mansion and try to find away to survive. Of course there’s problems like an abundance of glass doors and people with a secrets and surprises. It’s all bloody good fun that keeps moving at a fast pace and doesn’t get boring or give you time to question what you see.
The effects are plentiful and achieved mostly by practical methods, although the flying scenes are all CGI. Old school methods are put to good use as the wasps emerge from their human hosts, tearing their way out in bloody fashion and frequently go about their business with body parts still attached to them. These scenes are where the film shines, with a great, fun sense of the gross out. Bodies twitch shake and tear open, appendages poke out of mouths and other bodily orifices and blood and other fluids spray everywhere. It’s a feast for gorehounds and effects junkies everywhere, served up with lots of energy and affection for the genre.
What doesn’t work so well is the films attempts at humor. Stung is a German film, though shot in English with a US heavy cast, so it’s easy to go with the stereotype of the humorless German being the problem. The attempts at witty, bantering dialogue fall flat and what passes for rom com dialogue between the two leads is downright painful. They really should have tossed this and stayed with the straight up creature feature plot, it works so much better.
The cast is full of faces that will be familiar, even if the names aren’t. The one major star being Lance Henriksen who brings his usual charm to the role of Caruthers, a politician who actually has a spine and set of balls instead of the usual wuss you see in genre films. This also marks his second recent foray into practical effects based film making along with the enjoyable Harbinger Down.
To sum it up, Stung is a fun foray into the creature feature genre that manages to stay entertaining and avoids the pitfalls of films like 3 Headed Shark Attack and other SyFy/Asylum films while not being totally serious. It’s not the next Big Ass Spider, but it is lots of fun.