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Home > ‘Sting’ (2024): A Review

‘Sting’ (2024): A Review

‘Sting’ (2024): A Review

Indie Darling Out of Australia Has a Vicious Bite

Writer-director Kiah Roache-Turner has developed a horror template: single location, one monster, and family. These core ingredients make Sting a throwback creature feature for modern horror fans that draws upon conventional effects that make Sting a visceral thrill ride.

Throwback Creature Feature

Sting continues the proud tradition of films like Eight Legged Freaks, Arachnophobia, and Slither with its uncomplicated approach to a horror narrative. The storyline is straightforward: a tiny asteroid crashes to Earth, and inside the pod is a single inhabitant, a ‘spider’ that rapidly grows from the size of a nuisance to the size of a Rottweiler. It finds an ample feeding ground in the residents of a single-family apartment building, trapped inside due to a terrible snowstorm that prevents them from leaving. Like a serial killer, the spider moves from flat to flat, punishing residents for their solidarity. 

Development for Sting began over the pandemic. Kiah Roache-Turner found himself in a dark place, with the world imploding and the film industry eroding around him. Embracing uncertainty, he turned to his childhood fear of spiders for his next feature idea, noting in a press release for the film that “Anything with eight legs freaks me out…I’ve basically taken my worst nightmare and magnified it by a huge amount.” Produced in Australia, filming wrapped in early 2023. The film was distributed by Well Go USA Entertainment. Based in Texas, Well Go USA has a history of distributing indie darlings, and Sting is exactly the type of film perfect for indie distribution. 

Rising Stars

Sting is a perfect vehicle for rising writer-director Kiah Roache-Turner, whose filmography includes Wyrmwood, touted as Mad Max meets Dawn of the Dead, and Nekrotronic, which is a sort of Men in Black meets Ghostbusters film. What’s abundantly clear in every one of Roache-Turner’s films is a passion for filmmaking and a love of throwback cinema, taking the films he grew up on and remixing them for modern audiences. In Sting, he drew inspiration from Aliens, Jaws, and John Carpenter’s The Thing, which is readily apparent in the lighting, creature design, and shooting style.

Of course, the real star of Sting is Alyla Browne, who plays the heroine protagonist, Charlotte, with both strength and vulnerability. Browne has been on a roll lately, starring in nearly a dozen productions in the past five years, including Furioso: A Mad Max Saga, and the forthcoming Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Roache-Turner choosing to make the primary character a young girl brings a real Home Alone, Kevin McCallister energy to the film, and the third act really shows Browne at her best when she takes matters into her own hands and goes from hunted to hunter. The world will be seeing more of this young lady in the years to come. 

Practical Horror

Perhaps the unspoken star of the film is Sting itself. So named for the magic shortsword that Bilbo discovers in The Hobbit, Sting is a practical puppet, not a digital creature, which brings a visceral element to the film. Designed and printed entirely using 3D, Sting requires up to four puppeteers to bring its menace to life. The spider’s eight legs are all articulated and working; when Sting moves, he’s really moving. The design was inspired by real-world spiders, from its shiny carapace to its distinct red stripe, but teeth were added to give Sting some added menace.

More impressive was that tubular venom pipes were incorporated into the creature design, which allowed Sting to actually spit venom in a practical way. So, when watching the film, if Sting is salivating, it’s because one of the puppeteers is activating the effect practically on set. This sort of real-world approach to creature design is rarely seen in the digital age. Roache-Turner explained in a press release: “The great thing about a physical spider is that it interacts with the actors, which is fantastic for performance.” 

Something Creepy-Crawly This Way Comes 

Sting is a delightful throwback for horror fans looking for a straightforward creature feature. The film’s incorporation of practical effects combined with the claustrophobic location, characterful performances from the cast, and the visionary guidance of writer-director Kiah Roache-Turner make this a good use of your time and a stress test for your nerves.  Check out the trailer below.

Sting (2024) Official Well Go USA Entertainment Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Caleb aims to write high-concept genre pieces that focus on broken families. His works have been recognized by the Nicholl's Fellowship, the ISA, Screencraft, Launchpad, and Nickelodeon.When not writing Caleb enjoys video games and tabletop RPGs, camping, and is a connoisseur of fine bourbon.

Cailen Fienemann is a current student at Le Moyne College pursuing her BA in English and Communications with a film studies minor and a creative writing concentration.  Though uncertain about her career end-goals, any job that allows her to write is a cherished one indeed.