are wasps, not bees, so the stakes are already higher than in Irwin Allen’s The Swarm.
A plucky caterer and her slacker assistant are about to lay a spread for the
worst garden party ever. It was totally dead, until the mutant wasps crashed
the soiree. Laughter and gore go together like white wine and canapés in Benni
Diez’s Stung (trailer here), which screens
during the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.
inheriting her father’s catering business, Julia is struggling to keep it
afloat. She employees the obviously besotted Paul, who struggles to keep
himself together. They will cater the annual shindig hosted by Mr. Perch and
her socially stunted son Sydney. By the way, the mutated wasps are all his
fault, because he foolishly spiked the fertilizer with his late researcher father’s
molecular juice. Unfortunately, these killer wasps are not just big and angry.
They also lay their larva inside their victims, creating mutant-hybrid, with
some Alien-style chest cavity
explosions thrown in for good measure. Of course, that is nothing Lance
Henriksen hasn’t seen before. This time he turns up as Mayor Carruthers, a
flinty Korean War veteran, who appreciates a nice bottle of wine.
how money in the bank is Henriksen? In this case, he is no mere “guest star.” He
has significant screen-time as the Mayor (you know you’d vote for him) and he
never wastes a second of it. Frankly, it is darned difficult sharing the film
with a rampaging swarm of evil wasps and a cult favorite like Henriksen. Nevertheless,
Matt O’Leary and Jessica Cook are admirably good sports dealing with all the
spurting blood and spewing goo, as Julia and Paul, respectively. They seem just
real enough to be worth rooting for and tough enough to not try our patience as
experienced genre movie fans.
the mutant insects are always the most important thing in a bugs-gone-wild
movie, but happily Stung delivers the
goods. Frankly, Diez gets the balance just right with creatures realized
well-enough to facilitate all kinds of gruesome gags, but not so realistic it
can’t poke fun at itself and its genre. Not to be spoilery, but normally the “it’s
still out there” ending is predictably lame, yet Stung’s finale is truly a
spectacle to behold.
is not quite as gleefully nuts as last year’s
Tribeca-selected Zombeavers, but it
is not for a lack of trying. An inspired exercise in gross-out humor and big
creepy bug effects, Stung is one of
the first 2015 Tribeca film to get picked up for distribution (by IFC
Midnight), which suggests we might live in a just world after all. Highly
recommended, Stung screens again this
Thursday (4/23), as part of Tribeca ’15.
Labels: Horror Movies, Lance Henriksen, Tribeca '15