Sting movie poster

Sting

In theaters April 12, 2024

Rated

,

91 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , , , ,

Despite the opening scenes, this really isn’t a cosmic bug movie, but Sting (2024) is absolutely not for arachnophobes of any shade. There’s your warning. If the spider on the poster, or the long legs in the trailer don’t warn you off, you deserve what you have coming.

On a snowy night, Ethan (Ryan Corr), the maintenance man in a crumbling apartment building struggles to hold it together with little more than a wrench and fierce determination. He lives with his girlfriend, Heather (Penelope Mitchell), her 12-year-old daughter Charlotte (Alyla Browne), and their 6-month-old baby. Ethan has big plans to be a professional comic book illustrator and he shares his passion for comics with Charlotte, but he’s under deadline and short on time. Charlotte is bored and adventurous with absent parents and their new baby, so she entertains herself by crawling through the ductwork to her grandmother’s apartment. Senile Helga (Noni Hazlehurst) lives with her bitter and resentful sister and caretaker Gunter (Robyn Nevin), and no one is thrilled with the accommodations. Charlotte discovers among her grandmother’s weird things a small spider in a dollhouse which she captures and keeps as a pet. This spider can mimic whistles and calls making it a delightful distraction, but as Charlotte feeds it, it quickly outgrows its own accommodations. What Charlotte doesn’t know is no jar was meant to contain it and no exterminator can get rid of it.

From Screen Australia, the land where the things that can kill you outnumber humans ten to one, it should surprise no one that giant spiders were next to hit the big screen. Sure, there have been spiders on screen like the multitudes of terrors in Eight-Legged Freaks (2002) and Shelob in Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) but Australian native and director, Kiah Roache-Turner knows from monstrous spiders, channeling his own deep-seated fear into on-screen creeps and crawls. In keeping the location darkly intimate and claustrophobic, and the cast of characters small, Roache-Turner instead focuses on the scuttles in the walls, desiccated corpses, and the mournful betrayal of a little girl who once again sees something she loves turn against her.

Sting starts as a story of the working poor living in a death trap and evolves into a killer monster movie where the death trap is the least of their worries. Sometimes not all of the edges meet, and the logic is wildly uneven, but for a monster movie with exactly one giant spider, you’re not paying super close attention, saying of course you don’t tap out during the opening credits. At 91 minutes, some scenes feel strangely repetitive and it would be nice if movie-makers stopped killing animals in movies for filler. There’s too much to zone out on, mostly the family drama. The fact that the spider is from space is more or less a throwaway concept, since once it falls to earth that storyline is ignored. Much like the ending, I wish a little more thought had gone into it to make Sting feel less like a movie of the week and more like a 50s monster film.

Still, Sting is dark and gross and it will appeal to those who need to torture significant others and siblings. For some, that may be enough.

Sting (2024) is Rated R for swears, blood, animal deaths, webs, roaches, rats and of course, one little bitty spider that becomes a great big spider. Please use discretion.

Sting is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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