Connect with us

Featured Review

Sting ★



Released: 31st May 2024

Director: Kiah Roache-Turner

Starring: Alyla Browne, Ryan Corr, Penelope Mitchell, Jermaine Fowler, Noni Hazlehurst

In the space of a month and a half we have had two types of arachnid horror features. The first being the formally impressive and politically astute Vermines (Infested), directed by Sébastien Vaniček, that plays and interrogates with the notion of infestation and arachnophobia, and the second being Kiah Roached-Turner’s unimpressive, tonally confused and quite honestly lifeless recent feature Sting. A play by the rules, A to B slump that ceases to reinvent or take any kind of real risk, ultimately becoming yet
another tick box exercise in the current horror climate.

Charlotte, an unruly but remarkably independent 12-year old girl, who has a newfound obsession with comics discovers an ominous, red-backed spider in her room. This spider, unbeknownst to her or anyone in her family, has randomly fallen from the sky, landing directly in her playhouse in the form of an egg. With the endless homages, winks and glorifying of previous horror masterworks, this egg looks remarkably like the Xenomorph eggs from Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise. To be even more honest, the ten-second practical unhatching of the egg to reveal the named “Sting” is about as interesting as
Sting actually gets.

Sting is so blunt, bland and formally uninteresting in any of its audio-visual presentation, it almost feels wasteful. From the facade of kinetic cinematography, endlessly pushing and pulling into characters facial reactions, to the one-note borderline, monotonous non-diegetic score that seems to go absolutely nowhere. Not to mention maybe the year’s worst writing and comedy beats, it is tough to find anything that I particularly enjoyed about watching Sting.

Where old-school horror pictures flourished in being so spine-tingling, such as Frank Marshall’s ever-terrifying 1990 film Arachnophobia, were in the sensory, corporeal fear and terror inducing portrayals of the invasion of the human body. These works would investigate human-kinds instinctual relationship to otherness and our fear of the unknown as well as being genuinely ‘wincey’ and chilling in their formal presentation. The closest Sting gets to any of this, is in a wonderful, practical body invasion sequence. One of the characters from the apartment block comes into contact with Sting and it is at this point that I slowly sat forward in my seat. Sting leeches and rapidly hurls itself onto this character’s face and crawls down to their neck. It is at this moment that Roache-Turner’s interest in the human body and the notion of infestation is most interesting as he decidedly uses practical effects to display the invasion. Again though, this is only momentary, before the onslaught and barrage of crass and ghastly performances and
directorial decision making strips apart all of these half-decent moments in Sting.

The difficulty I predominantly have with Sting is that even with all its B-Movie schlock and practical potential. It refuses to even be enjoyable or interesting in any kind of way. As a critic who prides themselves in their endless devotion and love for horror and genre filmmaking, Sting entirely sucked the life out of me.

Just For You