I went into Stung expecting to hate it and I don’t really know why. I didn’t know anyone who had seen it and all the reviews being mixed at worst. All that said, boy did Stung prove me wrong as this is a great creature feature. The thing that really sold Stung for me was when they used practical effects, as is always the case. Something else that surprised me was Lance Henriksen being in this film, as I’ve loved his work since I saw him as bishop in Aliens when I was a child. The inclusion of Clifton Collins Jr. certainly didn’t hurt the film at all as well.
Stung opens with a Wasp mutating, then stinging another wasp, causing to transform. We then cut to Julia (Jessica Cook), who has recently taken over the family catering business after the death of her father heading to a job with her sole employee Paul (Matt O’Leary). The job in question is catering a memorial for the death of drug CEO, held at his estate by his wife Mrs. Perch (Eve Slatner) and son Sydney (Clifton Collins Jr.). The party is attended by mostly cannon fodder with the only notable addition being the town’s mayor Caruthers (Lance Henriksen). While setting up Paul has a couple of small run ins with the mutated wasps, but manages to avoid them or kill them before being stung. Though not everyone is so lucky, with one guest getting stung during the speeches and quickly transforms into a giant wasp. Just as the party is besieged by the smaller mutated wasps that have now transformed the whole hive. Julia, Paul, Sydney, Caruthers and Mrs. Perch manage to escape into the retaliative safety of the house. Relative because not long after they enter Mrs. Perch transforms into a queen wasp having been stung, attacking and killing the remain survivors until only Caruthers, Paul, Julia and Sydney remain, trapped in the basement. After taking a moment to catch their breaths, the remaining survivors realize they need to escape the area to survive as those stung have become giant wasps and are swarming the house above. Paul, having stepped over the course of events heads out of the house through a window to look for the keys he lost during the initial mayhem. Leaving Julia and Carthurthers behind with Sydney, who’s been hiding his sting…
My have a couple points of contention, first and foremost which includes a bit of spoiler, is Sydney’s transformation. As it takes far longer than everyone else and he remains around as a human/wasp hybrid. Something that I wouldn’t be so bothered with if he wasn’t the only one. His sole pseudo transformation is jarring, though as the idea is based around the wasp being mutations caused by growth hormones I can almost forgive it. Almost.
The second is Julia and Paul’s relationship, which while feeling unforced doesn’t flow the best. Julia’s hot-cold demeanor plays well of Paul’s loose and fun personality. It’s the gear change on a romantic level lacks subtly. On the other hand, with a run time of an hour and twenty-seven minutes subtly can be challenging.
What I did find myself heavily enjoying throughout the film was the wasps. At times they did get a little goofy, but the way they were approached with a bite or sting transforming the survivors. Coupled with them being trapped inside the old mansion gave this film a great zombie vibe and I love zombie films.
Final thoughts, far from perfect, but still very enjoyable. The wasps are great fun, and cause some amazing gore filled transformations. Lance Henriksen is good in this role, but isn’t as memorable as he is in some of his other films like Harbinger Down. But still sells his role and is delightful when he’s on-screen. If you’ve been putting off watching this film for whatever reason, I suggest you just jump in. Stung might just surprise you. 7.5/10