Stung (2015)

First published by TwitchFilm

“What is a bee’s favourite movie?” Paul (Matt O’Leary) asks his boss – and the object of his affections – Julia (Jessica Cook). “Stingin’ in the Rain,” is the eventual answer that Paul gives, conceding, “I know it’s a dad joke – but I like it.”

This is about the level of humour in Benni Diez’s German/American co-production Stung, which though focused on giant mutant wasps, is decidedly a ‘bee’ movie. Set at a society party in the country which Paul and Jenny have been hired to cater, it begins as a class-clash romantic comedy before turning into icky body horror as wasps fed on growth hormones start attacking the guests, producing monstrous human-sized wasps and transforming the mansion into a giant nest.

The caterers are joined in their fight against their new insect overlords by the local Mayor cum Korean War vet – played by Lance Henriksen, whose involvement seems entirely designed to clinch a later allusion to Aliens (1986), as a big mother’s babies are used as bargaining chips.

Everything here is underdone and overstretched, with half-assed vomit and shit jokes as though the film cannot quite commit to its own puerility, and a very light splattering of Oedipal social satire to pad things out (as the mansion owners find their inner WASPishness). The two leads keep things ticking over more through their own charisma than anything in the perfunctory script – and the low-grade CGI makes the wasps look like a swarm of hyperactive pixels. If Stung leaves you with surface irritation, probably best not to scratch it.

Anton Bitel