Sting

I thought I’d outgrown my childhood fear of spiders. Sting brought it back – for an hour and a half, at least. Writer/director Kiah Roache-Turner (Wyrmwood) follows in the tradition of Arachnophobia and Eight Legged Freaks, exploiting the inherent creepiness of spiders for all its worth. Tonally, this is an old-school B-movie through and through. The addition of cutting-edge practical effects means you’re guaranteed to squirm.

The story takes place in an old New York City apartment building. One of the tenants, 12-year-old Charlotte (Alyla Browne), discovers a weird little spider, not knowing that it came here from space. She keeps the creature, whom she dubs “Sting,” as a pet, hiding it from her mom Heather (Penelope Mitchell) and stepfather Ethan (Ryan Corr). Sting grows at an exponentially high rate and soon begins snacking on the neighbor’s pets. Before long, the thing grows massive enough to become a serious threat to the humans, as well. That’s when an exterminator named Frank (Jermaine Fowler) is called in.

Universal

Sting has a nice build-up of suspense. Early scenes are eerie, as we come to realize the spider is extremely aggressive. The potential danger is clear. Later on, it becomes huge, leaving the human characters with little chance of survival and leaving viewers with their hands over their mouths in horror. The movie’s creativity in staging spider attacks is impressive. This is certainly one of the goriest spider-related chillers ever made. The supremely gross kills are top-notch.

Underneath the thrills is the sense of humor any good B-movie requires. Sting has a number of overtly comical sequences, most of which involve Frank the exterminator. Other times, characters will make ironic remarks or display some form of idiosyncratic behavior in the midst of peril. Moments intended to provide a flash of levity arrive at the exact right times, so we recognize the film is having fun with itself before it ramps up the terror again.

Roache-Turner’s FX team deserves a great deal of credit. Even in its most exaggerated state, that spider is always convincing. The impact is maximized because they’ve done such a magnificent job bringing it to life and selling its menace, particularly during the big finale. A picture like this only works if it makes your skin crawl as you watch. Your skin will definitely crawl. Sting is an eight-legged creepshow that delivers a ton of ghoulish entertainment.


out of four

Sting is rated R for violent content, bloody images, and language. The running time is 1 hour and 31 minutes.


© 2024 Mike McGranaghan