Sting Review

When 12-year-old Charlotte (Alyla Browne) discovers a spider in her drab apartment building, she keeps it as a pet. But when she notices the spider’s strange behaviour — including rapid growth and mimicry — the bodies start piling up…

by Barry Levitt |
Published on

Sting starts with a bang. An old woman with short-term memory loss is attempting to contact an exterminator to deal with the loud, thumping sound in her flat. These opening minutes find tension in something terrifying and eight-legged lurking within the walls, then meeting an exasperated exterminator (played by a hilarious Jermaine Fowler). As the prologue reaches its predictable – and grisly – conclusion, some delightful opening credits suggest a gnarly B-movie creature feature experience is on its way.


Expectations, however, can be deceiving. Instead of putting the proverbial pedal to the metal, Sting then takes its foot off the gas, diving into the lives of those in the same apartment building where the noises take place. Among the assortment of strange characters who live there, we find Charlotte (Furiosa’s Alyla Browne), who discovers that same spider and keeps it as a secret pet.

When the giant spider finally comes into play, Sting is riveting.

While the story of a small spider that grows steadily larger and more violent is compelling, the family dynamics at the core of Sting are considerably less so. Characters aside from Charlotte are one-dimensional; that’s easily forgiven if they’re just there to outlive a giant spider, but it’s a problem when they take up so much of the film’s brief 92-minute runtime. There’s little interplay between Charlotte and her parents that we haven’t seen before, and apart from some briefly gruesome flashes, the spider-y goodness is really only present in the film’s beginning and end, leaving the vast majority of Sting as a dysfunctional family drama that never quite manages to get you wrapped up in its web.

It’s frustrating, because when the giant spider finally comes into play, Sting is riveting. It may never encroach upon especially new territory, but the last 20 minutes offer up a gory, nasty and exciting buffet of fun. Where the beginning and end showcase Sting’s promise, though, the narrative lags badly in the middle, turning what could have been a great spidery spectacle into something fun but forgettable.

Though it takes too long to get into the swing of things, Sting delivers faint echoes of the B-movie classic it wants to be, offering a memorable foe in a giant, bloodthirsty spider.
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