I’m notorious for putting off watching recommended movies. Friends are always suggesting great flicks to watch, but all too often they are put to the side because, well, life happens. Over the weekend, however, while debating what to watch with a friend, I finally saw a horror movie that had been recommended on more than a few occasions: 2015’s Stung. This certainly is a bizarre story about killer wasps, but did it live up to its many positive reviews?
The short answer is yes, absolutely; it’s everything a B-list horror comedy should be and more. It has great kills, fun characters, with freakishly odd and hilarious situations. Benni Diez directed Stung and although he hasn’t worked on many films, the few he has directed, like Melancholia (2011), have been brilliant. Stung follows two people – Paul (Matt O’Leary) and Julia (Jessica Cook) – who are catering a fancy garden party. Everyone is enjoying the night with the awesome food and great atmosphere, but, of course, with an outdoor setting comes the pestering of insects. Buzzing sounds start to come and go throughout the night, but when a guest is actually stung by a giant wasp, everyone panics and flees for their lives. These little buggers leave more than a swollen red bite mark, let me tell you. Let’s just say if average wasps weren’t bad enough, these creatures bring on a whole new fear!
The only thing I’ll say negatively about Stung regards the very beginning. It’s not a bad setup; it’s just slow and not very interesting as the two caterers are driving along, making conversation and heading to the garden party. As I was watching with my friend, we both thought, “Ugh, I hope this speeds up.” Just like with most movies, the director tries to grab the interest of the viewers by providing character backgrounds – giving them an idea of who these people are, what they want and if there was a spark of romance between the two main characters. That’s all fine and dandy, but with horror movies, I mostly want to see a fun story, epic kills, and maybe a few twists… no romance needed. Ironically, the opening sequence wasn’t even a part of the original script. Diez added it later on, and in my personal opinion, they didn’t need to. Luckily, the “boring” bits don’t last long and the rest of this horror comedy gave us full-on action and cheesy fun.
Everything else I enjoyed immensely, but I think, most of all, it was the awesome visuals and special effects that showed off those epic kills and so gore that sold me. In one shot, in particular, you see the stinger of the wasp right up against the eye of one of the guests. Beyond that, each kill was unique, fun, brutal, and gory and leave you excited for the next one. Also, the wasp transformations were terrific as well; the first one you see during the garden dinner party will have you yelling out, “Oh shit!”
The characters and commentary were pretty enjoyable, too. Besides the two main characters, it’s a group of snobby rich people who are put in a situation they would never dream of. I mean, who would have thought this would happen at a stiff, boring garden dinner party? I’ll be honest, though… It was pretty amusing to watch the snotty guests being tortured by gigantic killer wasps and running for their lives. Among the guests, however, is an ass-kicking character that everyone will love, played by the legendary Lance Henricksen. If you have any doubts about seeing Stung, Henricksen is enough reason alone to check it out. I love everything this man has done and his role in this stood out among pretty everyone. His character has a chill yet blunt demeanor and is the only enjoyable guest at the dinner party. There are a few other fun characters, including a mother and son relationship that’s quite entertaining, but I can’t tell you everything…you’ll have to watch the movie to find out why!
Lastly, what’s also amazing about Stung is the fact that such a fantastic, well made b-horror story was made by people who don’t have a whole lot of experience compared to others in the business. Stung, as mentioned before, was directed by Benni Diez who has done only a few other directing gigs and written by Adam Aresty who appears to have no previous works listed on IMDb.com. This film proves that people should take chances on lesser known things and that IFC Midnight knows what they’re doing and continues to release awesome horror movies.
Final Thoughts: If you love cheesy, gory horror comedies with entertaining commentary, I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy the movie. It has some of the best kills I’ve seen in a creature film in a loooong time and although it has a slow build it up, it’s worth the wait. Simply put: it’s fucking awesome and you should go watch Stung the first chance you get while it’s still streaming on Netflix!