Sting REVIEW – Not Venomous Enough

Ironically, Sting needed more sting.


You’d be lying if you said bugs don’t freak you out. An infestation is a horror movie all on its own, your home and mind invaded by milling little creatures. So creature features, when done right, can really terrify.

It all begins with a call to the exterminator about bugs in the wall. Jermaine Fowler’s Frank goes to investigate, and things go sideways pretty quickly. There’s not much in the way of gore and horror in these opening moments, and for most of the movie. Much of the film is devoted to the lives of a family living in apartment building. Ethan (Ryan Corr) and Heather (Penelope Mitchell) have a new baby, and an almost teenage daughter named Charlotte (Alyla Browne), so their lives are pretty hectic and frazzled. Ethan has a job as the supervisor for the building, while trying to complete the illustrations on his comic, and Heather’s got her hands full with her work, her baby and her dementia-riddled mother who lives in the same building.

Charlotte is a child that likes to roam the vents and isn’t skittish about bugs – not sure how believable that is, but despite the cellphones, Sting feels like a product of a different time, a throwback to when children had a morbid sense of adventure and devil-may-care attitudes. On one of her roaming adventures, she discovers a spider she names Sting – not the most unique of names – and decides to bring it home and keep it as a pet.

Charlotte’s feeling a little displaced in her own home as both her parents are more focused on her younger sibling. She feels like she doesn’t have a voice anymore, where even her little conversational contributions during mealtimes gets overlooked. It feels especially bitter because Ethan is her stepfather, and Charlotte feels like she can’t compete with the baby for his attention because she’s not his child. The movie gives us all these information through subtle visual cues, and I like that it doesn’t merely dump exposition on us, and gives us a chance to know this family on our own terms.

Browne is a talented young actress. She makes Charlotte this really nuanced character that you care about, even if she’s unknowingly raising a mutant killing spider. Charlotte’s relationship with Ethan is really the emotional core of the film, until the movie tries to ruin it by making him into this suddenly violent character. It’s an unnecessary element, especially when there’s not enough time to explore this side to him before the climax of the movie hits.

As far as creature features go, Sting is more like Alien rather than Arachnophobia, which is to its detriment. The close-up shots of the spider is all too reminiscent of those Xenomorphs, and the way it hunts each of its victims down one by one is incredibly similar to the structure in Alien. There’s even an allusion to that infamous chestburster scene. The characters in the movie also seem to be broadly based off the ones from Alien.

Sting is entertaining enough, but will be one of those films you won’t remember when the end of the year comes around. If only it had charted its own territory, instead of borrowing so heavily from other movies that came before.

Review screener provided.

READ NEXT: Make the Case: 5 Most Underrated 1990s Horror Movies

Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.

Sting has a talented cast - Alyla Browne in particular is a standout - but it's a bit too tame to be a competent creature feature.