Review: ‘Sting’ (2024), starring Ryan Corr, Alyla Browne, Penelope Mitchell, Robyn Nevin, Noni Hazlehurst, Silvia Colloca, Danny Kim, Jermaine Fowler

March 26, 2024

by Carla Hay

Alyla Browne in “Sting” (Photo courtesy of Well Go USA)

“Sting” (2024)

Directed by Kiah Roache-Turner

Culture Representation: Taking place in New York City, the horror film “Sting” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few African Americans, one Asian and one Latina) representing the working-class and the middle-class.

Culture Clash: After a mysterious spider’s egg drops into the apartment where a 12-year-old girl lives, she takes care of the spider that hatched from the egg, and the spider turns into a large, deadly monster. 

Culture Audience: “Sting” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in “creature feature” horror movies that don’t take themselves too seriously.

Alyla Browne and Ryan Corr in “Sting” (Photo courtesy of Well Go USA)

“Sting” is an intentionally campy horror film about a spider monster and the 12-year-old girl who unwittingly unleashes this terror and tries to stop it. The movie is a mostly skillful blend of gruesome and comical. “Sting” has some continuity issues between scenes, and don’t expect a lot of witty dialogue, but these flaws are overshadowed by a movie that is entertaining to watch for people who are inclined to like horror movies.

Written and directed by Kiah Roache-Turner, “Sting” takes place almost entirely inside a shabby apartment building in New York City’s Brooklyn borough. (The movie was actually filmed in New South Wales, Australia.) The movie has some flashbacks but shows that the terror began when an egg fell from the sky and crashed through a window of the apartment of a family where 12-year-old Charlotte Krouse (played by Alyla Browne) found the egg and secretly kept it. A regular-sized female spider hatches from the egg. Charlotte calls the spider Sting.

Charlotte lives in the apartment with her mother Heather (played by Penelope Mitchell); Carlotte’s stepfather Ethan Miller (played by Ryan Corr); Heather’s mother Helga (played by Noni Hazlehurst), who apparently has dementia; Helga’s stern sister Gunter (played by Robyn Nevin); and Charlotte’s half-brother Liam (played by Jett Berry and Kade Berry), who is 6 months old. Charlotte’s biological father, who is only called “The Professor” in the movie, abandoned Charlotte and Heather several years ago.

Charlotte still admires her father and has had trouble accepting Ethan (who is the father of Liam) as part of her family. Charlotte is also somewhat resentful of Liam, who is taking up a lot of her mother’s attention. Charlotte still has a lot of her worship of her father—so much so, that she has created a professor character modeled after her father for a comic book series that she writes called Fang Girl. Ethan is the illustrator of the comic book series, which is a hit. “Sting” doesn’t really give an adequate backstory for this unusual collaboration, but there’s a scene where Charlotte is very nitpicky with Ethan about how he is illustrating the professor character in the most recent comic book that they are working on together.

Also in the building are two neighbors who are featured in this movie: a widowed mother named Maria (played by Silvia Colloca) and a nerdy scientist named Erik (played by Danny Kim), who has an aquarium so that he can study fishes’ ability to recreate pancreatic cells. There’s also a talkative exterminator named Frank (played by Jermaine Fowler), who is repeatedly called to the building.

The trailer for “Sting” gives away a lot of what happens in the movie. Sting grows into an enormous deadly spider. Charlotte also finds out that Sting has the ability to expertly mimic sounds. Because this is a horror movie, not everyone is going to make it out alive. A running joke in “Sting” is Helga calling for exterminator (usually Frank), every time she hears noises in the walls. Helga seems to be unaware that these noises could be people getting killed.

“Sting” does exactly what you think it will do in a movie about a killer spider on the loose in an apartment building. The cast members’ performances aren’t outstanding, but there is good comedic timing in the right places. Fowler (who seems to want to be a younger version of Chris Tucker) has some of the funniest lines in the movie. The gore in “Sting” isn’t over-the-top bloody, but a lot of it will make some viewers squirm. “Sting” serves up enough jump scares and laughs to make it a solid option for mature viewers who want to see a horror flick that isn’t too disturbing or nauseating.

Well Go USA will release “Sting” in U.S. cinemas on April 12, 2024. A sneak preview of the movie was shown in select U.S. cinemas on March 25, 2024.

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