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Sting (A Movie Review)

STING (2024)

Starring Tony J. Black, Alyla Browne, Alcira Carpio, Silvia Colloca, Ryan Corr, Jermaine Fowler, Noni Hazlehurst, Rowland Holmes, Danny Kim, Penelope Mitchell and Robyn Nevin.

Screenplay by Kiah Roache-Turner.

Directed by Kiah Roache-Turner.

Distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment. 91 minutes. Rated R.

Occasionally Sting can’t quite decide if it is a creature-feature horror film or a heartfelt family drama. Sadly, it doesn’t quite work on either level, although it does have enough comic jump scares to make it some cheesy fun. After all, Sting doesn’t take itself too seriously, so why should we? (I am saying that both as a positive and as a negative.)

The story revolves around a strangely mutating spider who grows from a small normal size to the size of a hog in the space of a few days. And, needless to say, the bigger the spider gets, the bigger its meals become. She starts with eating the many, many cockroaches in a Brooklyn tenement apartment, and quickly graduates to small pets, and then tenants and exterminators. (I honestly have no way of telling the sex of a spider, but one of the characters refers to the creature as a she, so I’ll take her word for it.)

It also revolves around a family living in the building, particularly the young daughter Charlotte (Alyla Brown). She lives with her mother Heather (Penelope Mitchell), stepfather Ethan (Ryan Corr) and her infant sister. Ethan is a struggling comic book artist who took a job as the super at an old Brooklyn tenement apartment run by his slumlord mother-in-law. (Even though very little of the film takes place outside of the apartment, it doesn’t really look all that much like Brooklyn, and since it’s an Australian film, I’d assume it was made there.)

Ethan and Charlotte are working together on a comic book which actually has gotten sold and might be their big break if they can only get it finished, and yet Charlotte doesn’t particularly seem to like Ethan at all. In fact, honestly, Charlotte appears to be bit of a budding sociopath through much of the film – and not just because she thinks an aggressive, fast-growing spider makes for a good secret pet – until she eventually shows humanity when on the run from the giant spider and trying to save her family.

She had found the spider while on one of her apparently regular jaunts through the ventilation system of the old building. She apparently breaks into the other apartments through the huge vents, just to steal grandma’s dolls, make vaguely creepy Instagram posts of other people’s stuff, or simply to look around. In one of those nocturnal visits, she finds a spider crawled on her hand. Instead of trying to get it off, she decides to keep it as a pet. For the record, she names the spider Sting after the sword in The Lord of the Rings, not the former Police singer.

Eventually Sting gets loose in the same ventilation system and starts either killing or capturing the people in massive webs.

It’s sort of cheesy and sort of silly, but sort of fun too. And really, that’s all this film is trying for.

Jermaine Fowler adds some decent comic relief in the role of an exterminator who may have met his match with this arachnid. Honestly, other than him and the main family, most of the characters are sort of one-dimensional spider bait, but that’s okay, we’re not looking for deep characterization in a giant spider movie. We are looking for scares, and Sting delivers the goods just often enough to make it worth a look if it shows up on cable at 3:00 in the morning sometime.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2024 All rights reserved. Posted: April 11, 2024.

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