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Stung

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    Horace Cordier
    Senior Member

  • Stung



    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: November 3rd, 2015.
    Director: Benni Diez
    Cast: Clifton Collins Jr., Lance Henriksen, Jessica Cook, Matt O'Leary
    Year: 2015
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    Scream Factory's recent forays into feature length new films have been a decidedly mixed bag. For every effective BACKWOODS, it seems there is a lame killer crocodile film not far behind. STUNG resides somewhere in the middle of the pack. It isn't particularly good, but it f your bar is set low enough, it's a serviceable piece of mildly diverting entertainment.

    Julia (Jessica Cook) has inherited a catering company from her father. It's a small operation. Jessica only has one employee: a borderline cliche character stoner named Paul (Matt O'Leary) who fulfills the genre trope of the dopey male who eventually gets his shit together to help out the ultra competent female. Dispatched to a garden party on a lush estate where the local mayor and a bunch of other rich bored people are getting plastered everything seems pretty routine at first. Paul keeps breaking things, some lame sexual tension is established, and finally some wasps show up. Aside from the mayor, played by genre legend Lance Heriksen with weird panache, the characters are totally forgettable. You have a nice Latina maid and a creepy old lady mansion owner and her repulsive son and other stock stereotypes. Once the wasps claim their first victim outside, everybody runs into the house. And the wasps get in despite their attempts to stop them.

    And that's pretty much it. This is a "bug movie" on an almost meta level so whether or not you are going to enjoy this is based on your love of goopy fx and gross insects. These are giant wasps that start out as big and then become huge. The central conceit is that once they sting someone, they lay eggs that almost instantly hatch into enormous FOOD OF THE GODS size insects. The main gag is watching bug tentacles and antennae burst out of moist overripe bodies. Or conversely penetrate victims.

    The one thing STUNG does gave going for it is some strong practical FX. And despite the usual quick-cutting favored by most directors today, the action shots are visually coherent. Director Benni Diez started out as a visual technician and he knows how to deliver this stuff. There's some cgi employed, but it's well handled and never looks TOO obviously fake. But be warned. Most of this just goes for the gross out factor. But it never devolves into SHARKANADO level incompetence.

    Acting is decent even if the characters are often annoying. The film's most serious misstep occurs in the climax which rips off some far better films. And the final scenes involving a huge wasp on fire are the only ones that look absurdly fake. It's also worth noting that STUNG has an unusually obnoxious heavy metal soundtrack.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    STUNG's 1080p AVC encoded 2.40:1 framed is a crisp affair. Color saturation and detail are very good. The minimal use of cgi makes the various nasty practical effects shine: bug hair and sharpened stingers look appropriately disgusting. And the various gory deaths look solid. When cgi is deployed however, the image gets notably softer. At the end of the day, this is a very good looking digital production.

    Audio is represented by an excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 that is quite balls to the wall. Buzzing insects come at you from every point in the surround sound field, and the LFE is very intense. If STUNG truly excels anywhere it is the sound mix. This is first class floor shaking stuff.

    Extras consist of a pleasant but lightweight audio commentary with director Diez and the writer and producer of the film. They've got some good stories and seem to really like each other. It's a pleasant enough listen. Next up is a 21 minute making of documentary that's typical EPK material, though the sections focusing on the practical bug FX are worth watching. There is also a production video diaries blog featurette that I found quite dull. Frankly, you'd have to REALLY be into this film to enjoy it. Finally, an HD theatrical trailer is included.

    The Final Word:

    If you dig gross out huge killer bug movies, snap this one up. If that doesn't sound particularly appealing, skip it. And anyone considering watching this? You better be able to handle Cronenberg level body trauma in a movie.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!




















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