Ginger Nuts of Horror
Stung is a comically bloody gem of a film by director Benni Diez and writer Adam Aresty. It is their debut feature film but to watch it you wouldn’t think so. The plot is straight forward overall but the writing shines in its handling of sarcastic dialogue and juxtaposing the bloody and disgusting with the humorous.
In the opening credits we see an excellent little intro with a bee flying around suddenly being ambushed by a very large wasp, tackling it to the ground and stabbing it with its stinger and injecting something into it. From there we are treated to a vivid internal tale of some mutant wasp rapidly growing inside the bee and eventually bursting forth, eradicating the bee’s body in the process. From here our story begins.
Julia, played by Jessica Cook, runs Country Catering, a family business begun by her father who passed away within the last year. She has been hired to cater an event put on by some very wealthy people expecting guests who are all rich and influential. One of the guests is the mayor, played by Lance Henrickson. The location is an incredibly huge but old mansion owned by an elderly lady whose husband has been dead for some time but they still gather to celebrate his birthday each year. Her grown but awkward and socially dysfunctional son is named Sydney and played by Clifton Collins Jr.
From the beginning we see that Julia and her employee, a young man named Paul and played exceptionally well by Matt O’Leary, have a complicated relationship. Paul is obviously attracted to Julia but at the same time is frustrated at how she treats him like a kid and doesn’t appreciate his hard work, competency and ability. Julia is particularly anxious about this event going off without a hitch and is a bit overbearing toward Paul as a result. Paul gets everything set up outside while Julia works on food preparation. During this time the mother’s little dog digs away at what appears to be the entrance to a ground nest for the wasps. We see a few of these large wasps, about half the of a man’s hand, flying around and Paul destroys some glasses on a table trying to kill one with his shoe.
Later, once its dark and the party is in full swing a horde of the wasps burst out of the nest entrance and begin flying around and stinging some of the guests who, within in a couple of minutes collapse with seizures and then have a human sized wasp sprout out of their now shredded bodies. Here’s where the blood and gore begins to run rampant. Paul takes charge and tells people to get in the house but only a few of them follow, the rest shrieking and running around in abject terror, completely overwhelmed.. He rushes Julia inside and they shut the doors.
From here the story shifts gear to a small group of people trapped inside the mansion trying to avoid the wasps’ efforts to attack them while they infiltrate and build a huge nest. During their fight for survival the characters begin to figure out what has caused these terrible mutations but the heart of this story is the potential romance between Paul and Julia as Paul shows what kind of man he is when the chips are down and death is near as giant mutant wasps bear down on them.
All the actors and actresses do a fine job but I was quite impressed with Matt O’Leary’s performance. He is spot on in everything he does in his role and really makes you root for him both to live and win the girl. This is the first significant role I’ve seen him in as an adult but you may remember him as a young actor in the movie Frailty as the young older brother Fenton Meiks or even from the kids’ movies Spy Kids 2 and 3 as the young boy competing spy Garry Giggles.
All in all, this movie was a load of fun for me. Lots of action, great humor, blood and guts and other disgusting squishy stuff, great FX on the giant wasps and the transformations, and add to all that some young love romance that must be hard won by a courageous guy trying to find his place in the world. The last half of the movie will keep you on the edge and keep the curve balls and apparent defeats coming till you reach its destructive conclusion.
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