'Stung': Film Review

Sebastian Nozon/Peter Hacker/Rat Pack Film Prods
Creature feature delivers in the gore department

Don't even think about trying bug spray on these guys.

Wasps terrorize WASPS in Benni Diez's Stung, which sets giant, mutant insects loose at the estate of a rich pharmaceutical executive. First-time scribe Adam Aresty brings little new to the table, but the pic delivers for gorehounds, combining CG with what appears to be a heavy dose of old-school practical effects. Genre fans will love that, and a supporting turn by fanboy fave Lance Henriksen boosts appeal for midnight and ancillary returns.

Matt O'Leary and Jessica Cook are caterers Paul and Julia, working a dinner party at this remote country manse. The film has barely introduced the nearby town's boozy mayor (Henriksen), the family's oddball scion Sydney (Clifton Collins Jr.) and some more expendable characters before the blitz begins, with hundreds of fist-sized wasps wreaking havoc on the outdoor festivities. The buggers have an Alien-like fondness for invading human bodies, quickly feasting on their victims' innards and growing immensely; Diez's effects teams have tremendous fun with the gory ways they tear through their hosts' bodies when it's time to leave the chrysalis behind.

In no time the party is whittled down to a precious few survivors. Collins lays the sketchy eccentricity on thick and Henriksen earns his keep, but scenes in which humans are holed up securely to plot their next moves are rarely highlights. Halfway through, one worries the film will sputter out. But the transformation of the house into a giant wasp nest proves sufficiently creepy to sustain it, especially once the new queen of the house comes into the picture.

Production companies: Rat Pack Filmproduktion, XYZ Films

Cast: Matt O'Leary, Jessica Cook, Lance Henriksen, Clifton Collins Jr.

Director: Benni Diez

Screenwriter: Adam Aresty

Producers: Christian Becker, Benjamin Munz

Executive producers: Nate Bolotin, Todd Brown, Nick Spicer, Aram Tertzakian

Director of photography: Stephan Burchardt

Costume designer: Virginie Henzen

Editor: Dominik Kattwinkel

Music: Antonio Gambale, David Menke

No rating, 87 minutes

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