It might possibly be too picky to point out that the mustache on Lance Henriksen changes several times throughout the film but apart from this annoying occurrence, Stung is really just Eight Legged Freaks, with wings. Granted, also missing are David Arquette and these “killer wasps” may have a bit more in common with Irwin Allen’s 1978 film The Swarm, but this horror film does have its moments.
Taking a page from the old Roger Corman theme of mankind messing with nature and paying the price, Stung is the first full length feature film to be directed by Benni Diez from a script by Adam Aresty. The film stars Matt O’Leary, Jessica Cook, Clifton Collins Jr. and, of course Henriksen.
A garden party goes madly awry when giant wasps attack the members of the event. These mutations inject fast growing larvae into their victims which results in seven foot long wasps with attitude attacking anything that moves.
There are a few stand out moments, apart from Henriksen’s mutating mustache. The face on a wasp’s leg is quite impressive as is the dog scene later on. Like Eight Legged Freaks these monstrous wasps make noises that are not insect-like and more amusing than frightening. Unlike the David Arquette vehicle, however, this comedy horror is more adult in nature and does not have quite as “happy” an ending.
With more “f**ks” than the entirety of Beverly Hills Cop (the first one) this is not for kids. The gore factor is quite OTT but to be honest it is more of the “goo variety” and less about blood and guts, although there are a few “yuck” moments.
Lance Henriksen, as the “name” attached to the film, manages to make it through a good portion of the film before he, and his magic mustache, come to an explosive end.
Later in the film, at least one other classic horror film is given a big nod and wink, The Thing with Two Heads…
The old dame whose party the wasps ruin, has a son, Sidney (Collins Jr.) who looks for all the world like a living homage to the late actor Klaus Kinski from For a Few Dollars More. Long hair, glasses and a hump that later turns into the head of a giant wasp.
The film is good fun in many ways, after all how can one not enjoy a scene where three different characters say one very funny line?
This in response to the three witnessing a rather grizzly and impressive birthing of yet another giant wasp.
Stung is entertaining and mildly amusing. Like the “Drive In” movies it emulates and pays homage to, it really does feel like a throw back to the halcyon days of Corman. The film is slowly paced, hence the ability to notice that Caruthers’ hairy upper lip kept changing its appearance, which does hurt it somewhat.
Overall, potty language aside, this is a good time to be had by almost all. Although, sadly the two leads, Cook and O’Leary, never really gel. The two have no chemistry and while their awkward interactions fit the script they just never really feel like a possible couple. Obviously this is the intent, from the beginning each character is caught up in their own world, but when the film progresses their “relationship” does not.
Odd and quirky, Stung has given the horror fan a slew of references to giggle at but the slow almost dragging pace of the film keeps many moments from ever reaching true hilarity or any real horrific payoff. This one is a 3.5 out of 5 stars for the homages alone and O’Leary’s performance could almost have taken the film to another level…almost.