Review: ‘The Wasp’ (2024), starring Naomie Harris and Natalie Dormer

June 25, 2024

by Carla Hay

Natalie Dormer and Naomie Harris in “The Wasp” (Photo courtesy of Shout! Studios)

“The Wasp”

Directed by Guillem Morales

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed city in the United Kingdom, the dramatic film “The Wasp” features a predominantly white cast of characters (with a few black people) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: An upper-middle-class homemaker asks a working-class former schoolmate to do a deadly deed, and it leads to various conflicts and complications. 

Culture Audience: “The Wasp” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and twist-filled psychological thrillers.

“The Wasp” is an apt title for this psychological thriller because it leaves such a stinging impression. Naomie Harris and Natalie Dormer give intense performances filled with suspenseful twists and turns in a murder-for-hire scheme. It’s the type of movie that has enough unpredictability and compelling acting, many viewers will want to see this film more than once.

Directed by Guillem Morales, “The Wasp” is adapted from Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s play of the same name. Malcolm also wrote “The Wasp” screenplay. “The Wasp” had its world premiere at the 2024 Tribeca Festival. The movie was filmed on location in the United Kingdom. The story takes place in an unnamed city in England.

“The Wasp” begins by showing a close-up of an unhappily married homemaker named Heather Foxfield (played by Harris), who is crying outdoors by herself. Heather hasn’t been happy with her demanding and domineering husband Simon (played by Dominic Allburn) for quite some time. One of the reasons for their troubled marriage is that Heather hasn’t been able to conceive a child.

At the moment, soft-spoken and eager-to-please Heather has two other preoccupations. First, there seems to be a wasp infestation in their home, but Heather doesn’t know where the wasps have been living on the property. The other preoccupation that she has is Simon’s command for her to prepare the perfect dinner party for business colleagues who have been invited to Simon and Heather’s upper-middle-class home. Simon expects Heather to have a fabulous multi-course meal for this event, which he tells her is crucial for his career.

Without going into too many details in this review, the dinner party is a disaster. Simon blames Heather and storms out of the house. This conflict seems to be the last straw for Heather, who puts a plan into motion. As already revealed in the trailer for “The Wasp,” Heather contacts a prickly former schoolmate named Carla (played by Dormer) to hire her to kill Simon. Heather and Carla have not seen each other for about 30 years, when they were about 11 or 12 years old.

Carla is living in her own type of misery. She is having lot of financial problems that her supermarket cashier job can’t cover. And so, Carla is secretly a sex worker to make extra money. Carla is married to an unemployed gambling addict named Jim (played by Rupert Holliday Evans), who’s about 20 years older than Carla. She’s also financially supporting four underage children, who have different fathers. At the time this story takes place, Carla is about seven or eight months pregnant.

The rest of “The Wasp” shows how Heather convinces an initially reluctant Carla to be a part of this murder-for-hire scheme. There is a lot of symbolism in “The Wasp,” particularly in the fact that Simon keeps a framed collection of insects hanging in the house. One of the insects that is singled out as a favorite is the tarantula hawk, a certain wasp that has special meaning in the story. What the tarantula hawk is known for has greater meaning when the movie’s stunning ending is revealed.

Shout! Studios will release “The Wasp” in select U.S. cinemas on August 30, 2024.

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