A mansion in the middle of nowhere, a fancy party with upscale guests including the mayor, a garden full of tiny wasps being sprayed with a mysterious pesticide; what could possibly go wrong? What is a bee’s favorite movie?
The movie, Stung, follows a pair of caterers who have been hired to cater a lavish party for a wealthy woman. Julie (Jessica Cook) is the owner and taking her new duties very seriously; while Paul (Matt O’Leary) is an immature employee who takes very little seriously. This is exemplified in the first scene to feature them when Julie is reading and preparing for the event while Paul is driving carelessly, staring at his companion while she changes her shirt, and goes on about how he would vomit if he tried to read in a moving vehicle. Side note, if his story about vomiting makes you queasy, you may to stop the movie here; there are some potential gross-out scenes later. There could be potential for romance if they weren’t so pressed for time by their gig.
For a brief time, the event seems to be going well. The guests have arrived; they are mingling and having a good time. Lance Henriksen has made an appearance being as stately as ever (he co-stars as the mayor who is soon up for reelection). Julie remains professional while Paul talks about how he’d like to get drunk to the people to whom he is serving drinks. The only setback is the unusually large insects plaguing the party.
It is not long before it becomes painfully obvious that the bugs are not going away and, in fact, are becoming a larger problem. The celebration turns into a struggle for survival when the party comes to an abrupt end and Julie, Paul, and all the dinner guests have to fight giant wasps and/or flee for their lives. While trying to get to safety, Julie and Paul travel into the bug infested house, find a nest, get some time to develop their budding relationship, and learn shocking truths about some of the other survivors.
The acting is above average; very believable. Most of the main characters get a chance to develop and stand out making a death or two slightly tragic (though, it’s a monster movie, so I typically go in expecting everyone to die – then I can be happy if anyone survives). A little bit of comic relief is included to defuse some of the tension; like when Paul says, “I know drinking on the job is a big no-no, but when people start losing their limbs and their eyeballs pop out of their face, I find it needed.” I have never had alcohol, but that might get me to try something.
Stung is a welcome change to the recent trend of horror films that feature “found footage” or torture (not that I’m against the “found footage” genre; it’s just nice to mix it up some with a well-made monster movie). The terror is not an invisible supernatural force or a crazy/possessed person out for pain; it is BUGS… LOTS OF BUGS! More specifically, bees, or actually wasps (or maybe they are fireflies… shush, spoilers). It is an exciting movie that builds to a thrilling conclusion. In this case, I would advise you to get Stung.
In theaters and VOD Friday, July 3.