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    Stung (2015): Movie Review

    “A flimsy how-to movie on becoming a waspinator/hero and on getting laid.” 

    Large mutant wasps are the stars of Stung, the debut feature of director Benni Diez. When we say large, we are not simply talking about some few inches but several feet. These human-size transmuted insects are out to wreck havoc on a party.

    The film begins with a grizzly scene of a wasp killing a bee in mid-air. That’s just for starter as we see later that these killing machines are up to something more creepy. Well, traveling along the road to a high-class elite mansion is one-van party company Country Catering. Julia (Jessica Cook) is the owner and boss of this inherited business. Driving for her is man-child but good guy Paul (Matt O’Leary). Not really good in its purest form as he constantly look at Julia in the passenger seat as she takes off her hoodie, with  nothing but a bra inside, and change clothes. Julia is kind of uptight and irritable. She does not like Paul’s music, his attire, and almost everything about him.

    Arriving at the venue, the two-man business instantly sets up and prepares for the garden party. Evening comes and it seems it will be a fun night for the millionaire hostess (Eve Slatner) and her weird heir Sydney (Clifton Collins Jr.). But soon, a large horde of wasps begin attacking the guests. Being injected with the insects’ eggs, the stung person becomes a cocoon and the larva inside him/her will shortly emerge into a gigantic adult. The party turns into a massacre and Paul steps up to protect Julia. They retreat into the mansion and hide in the cellar with Sydney and small-town mayor Caruthens (Lance Henrikson). But Paul knows they can’t simply hide forever. Taking another daring act, he dashes into the enemy line and retrieves the key to the van that will take them to freedom. That is, if he succeeds….

    Stung is resonant of those 1980s creature films where multitudes of animal or insects attack countless innocent victims. Instead of relying heavily on CGI, the film employs practical effects, resulting to much more dimensional and realistic creatures. There are also sequences in the film which are Alien-style, particularly those moments when humans have a closed face-to-face encounter with the expanded enemies. For gore fans, the movie will excite you as it has plenty of satisfying blood and brutality. It is quite gut-wrenching when the wasps break out of their cocoon, leaving part of a human face here or a little dog’s fur there. 

    Stung belongs to the category of highly-predictable films in which our guesses of who dies first, who escapes but then dies, and then who survives in the end are almost always correct. To compensate for its banal nature, the film should have worked on its other elements to make it stand out. But nah, it suffers further with its bland characters. It’s good that the goofy finally becomes the hero but it feels not genuine. After his initial boyishness around Julia, Paul suddenly becomes manly during the wasp attack, and then sexo-macho as he makes out with her inside the ambulance at the end scene. Despite a long sleepless night of warfare against the killer insects, the duo still have the strength for a quickie. And no, the movie is not really about them, but about some wasps which have mutated to extra-large versions after ingesting growth-hormone-infused plant fertilizer (let’s not talk science please). 

    In spite of its fairly impressive practical effects, Stung feels old and miserly. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either. And yet, it is hard to get angry with a movie that seems to require a lot of efforts to produce. It’s like you want to roll your eyes with its obvious incompetence, but you just end up drawn to it, smiling along the way.


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