Stung full movie review - A tasty cheeseburger!
I was marginally involved in the making of the movie and know a bunch of the people who made it. So, give me my fan-boy moment and grant me the 10/10 rating. But to avoid any further bias, the bad news first:
If you expect STUNG to be an original game-changer it is not gonna be your movie. It goes by the book of creature features as much as a cheeseburger goes by the book of burgers at McDonalds. But even though I might hate one the moment I bite into the pickle I devour cheeseburgers over and over again, so here are the good news:
Are you in the mood for a cheeseburger? Congratulations! You gonna get a really old-school super-sized deluxe version with extra large fries and a real coke, because 1) Lance Henriksen is in it, 2) instead of giant spiders, ticks, flies or bees, we get GIANT WASPS. 3) The are gooey, gory, slimy, 80s-style special effects creatures (there is a ton of CG stuff in it too, but only for the shots which were impossible to pull off with prosthetics, plus a load of "invisible" VFX, all of which the crew pulled off wonderfully and which look A LOT better than what I am used to from this sort of films), 4) a likable cast who delivers absolutely solid performances, 5) top-notch production value, especially considering that STUNG was made on a really tight budget by a first time director, a shooting and post-pro crew, most of who got off film school not too long ago, and the fact that the movie was made in Germany (thanks to some exquisite color grading it doesn't look one bit like rainy Berlin). Kudos to Ratpack and XYZ Films for having the balls to shoot in a country which isn't exactly famous for its output of creature features.
What stings me about STUNG is its not-so-risky bet of being a commercially safe cheeseburger. It carries a feeling of cautiously staying on the beaten path to remain a safely consumable product without the edgy gross-out humor and jump-scares of Jackson's Braindead or Raimi's Evil Dead flicks. STUNG is more along the lines of Eight Legged Freaks or Lake Placid and that's a little drawback, because you've seen it before a lot of times. This predictability makes the movie drag a little (especially the 2nd act has quite a bit of we-are-under-siege-so-let's-bond-and-start-a-romance-dialogue and a few meters too many of sneaking around). During the closing credits I secretly wished that the movie's story would have started at the moment where it actually ends (mild spoiler: it has to do with some flying steak produce), because that's the insane film I really would have wanted to see. It also would have been exactly what Benni Diez, the director, his crew's and producers' twisted minds are truly capable of, because they are all fan-boys whose hearts are beating for crazy films.
In the end STUNG did mainly one thing for me: It raised expectations, because Diez has proved he delivers his product in budget and on time. Now I look forward to Diez' next movie which hopefully goes beyond being a safe "product" and features the batshit crazy handwriting of an unleashed director who jumps from a burning plane with a knife between his teeth, a ticking nuke in his backpack with no parachute and no safety net... into a pool of alligators on acid.