Sting Review: Delightfully gory spider shocker - SciFiNow

Sting Review: Delightfully gory spider shocker

A spider alien invades the life of a young girl in a new New York apartment building in Kiah Roache-Turner’s Sting. Our review…


An asteroid hurtles toward Earth, unleashing an ominous object that smashes through the window of a dingy New York apartment building. Here, an incy wincy spider emerges that is eventually discovered by unruly 12-year-old Charlotte (Alyla Browne), who pops it in a jar, names it ‘Sting’ and keeps it as a pet unbeknownst to her struggling comic-book artist stepfather Ethan (Ryan Corr) and mother Heather (Penelope Mitchell). As the increasingly sized spider goes on secret nighttime prowls of the building to feed its growing appetite for human flesh, the remaining haphazard residents slowly realise that they’re on the menu, too, and only Charlotte has the aptitude to stop it.

While low-budget creepy crawly films have a somewhat throwaway reputation, every so often, one comes along (hello, Arachnophobia) that surprises in interesting ways. Kiah Roache-Turner’s Sting is of the latter category. This sharply self-evident, delightfully gory and frequently hilarious spider shocker from the director of Wyrmwood keeps events engrossing thanks to an array of quirky characters, appropriately claustrophobic production design, and an impressively tangible (Wētā Workship-configured) animatronic spidey.

Brad Shield’s prowling camerawork around the confined, one-location setting helps keep events thoughtfully focused while maintaining gripping momentum. However, occasionally, the dysfunctional family drama antics unevenly collide with the otherwise comedic tone and the roll-call of references to classics of the genre (Little Shop of Horrors, Alien, Aliens, Gremlins, and Phillip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers, to name a few) threaten to derail Sting’s identity.

Nevertheless, largely thanks to the triumphantly committed (primarily Australian) cast and creatively goosebump-inducing tone, Sting just about emerges intact. Still, one wonders what David Cronenberg would have made with the content — the titular creature no doubt a more overtly ravenous offspring of Charlotte’s adolescent rage in a twisted contemporary alternative to the director’s chilling classic The Brood.

Sting was screened as part of Australia’s Gold Coast Film Festival and will be released in UK cinemas on 31 May.