Sting – REVIEW

Sting - Things that crawl in the night!

Not the Geordie warbling front man of 80’s power pop combo The Police but instead Sting is a creature feature from writer director Kiah Roache-Turner that starts with a terrific title sequence that sees a small spider that’s crashed through a New York apartment window in a mini meteor from outer space and landed in a dolls house replica of the apartment block. Creeping around the walls and ceiling of the dolls house it’s a forerunner of what the inhabitants can expect as the film unfolds.

Central to all this is 12 year old Charlotte (Alyla Browne) dealing with her long absent father since her parents divorced and her mother now lives with her stepfather Ethan (Ryan Corr)  a  comic book artist who supplements his income working as the apartment  block caretaker that’s owned by Gunter (Robyn Nevin) a crazy East European accented aunt to Charlotte who shares a flat with dementia sufferer Helga (Noni Hazlehurst) who is also Charlotte’s grandmother. Right from the start the victims to be are lined up with neighbouring flat owners the creepily odd Erik (Danny Kim), the heavy drinking pharmaceuticals addicted singleton Maria (Silvia Colloca) and of course an array of pets that include a parrot, a dog plus others too and all lined up for set piece kills leaving the audience to decide in what order they will happen.

It’s Charlotte who takes the spider she now calls Sting as her own pet putting him in a jam jar and feeding it cockroaches in the sort of way only teenage kids can, ‘Cool!’ she purrs as Sting goes in for the cockroach kill. But it all changes pretty soon when the spider escapes, grows to giant proportions and starts slaughtering all and sundry.

Amongst all of this increasing unease is the family dynamic with Charlotte and her stepfather developing a bond and Alyla Browne, already something of a veteran with ten film credits to her name in just five years including ‘Furiosa’. She is great as the pre-teen, all confused at not having seen her real father in months that culminates in a moment where her distress explodes in rage and distress as her and her stepfather face off with some home truths. It’s a great scene demonstrating that Alyla Browne is a star in waiting.

Though there’s CGI from the start it soon reverts to good old fashioned practical effects when the spider gets big, really man eating size big. And fans of the oeuvre will want the set pieces kills and that’s perhaps where fans may be disappointed as many victims are seen post-kill but there is a stand out set piece with one victim effectively paralysed as Sting crawls into their mouth and out the stomach that is as near to a gore fest as it will ever get. Spiders, like Boris Johnson flirting with future mistresses, are enough to give most people the screaming hee-bee gee-bees and that factor could have ramped up further with similar inventive icky set pieces. Instead the spider, once at huge proportions, stays in the shadows aside from one terrific reveal when the family suddenly see the size of what their up against.

Sting is firmly B-movie territory and there’s frequent references to the halcyon days of the genre (as well as a few Arnie film references) playing on Helga’s TV but at a brisk 90 minutes this is doesn’t hang around and is likely to be one of the summers guilty pleasures.

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We chat to director Kiah Roache-Turner about the making of the film….

Here’s the Sting trailer……


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