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By Josiah Teal | April 17, 2024

Sam Rami’s influence is evident through Sting. From POV spider shots to quick zoom-ins on the frights unfolding, the influences range from Evil Dead and Drag Me to Hell to Spider-Man (that one seems obvious). Writer and director Kiah Roache-Turner takes the Rami influence fused with 80s and 90s video store horror to craft a family drama wrapped in the web of 8-legged terror. It is a monster film looking to the past but still feels at home and thriving in 2024. Influences from Alien, Arachnophobia and Roache-Turner’s own fear of spiders lead to unseen trepidation throughout the narrative, building on a feeling of exhilarating uneasiness. The combination of solid character relationships with various influences further enriches the creepy physical effects on display throughout Sting.  

“…the spider has run rampant, turning the complex into an arachnophobic nightmare.”

Physical effects range from gross puss-filled spider bites, green gooey webs, and, at times, Sting herself. Weta Workshop and Richard Taylor, known for their work on King KongBlade Runner 2049, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, bring each of these compelling effects to the screen, adding movie magic and more than a few great props to Sting‘s many selling points. Effects like those on display are what monster fans crave: gross webbing, violent spider bites, and an inside-out parrot. Taylor gave this movie the works. Each kill or spider attack consciously shifts the plot, impacting the character’s future judgments. Through Sting‘s mesmerizing and often disgusting effectsthese kills and spider attacks further enamor the audience with the action on screen. 

Sting probably won’t have many hardcore horror fans sleeping with the light on, but it is precisely the movie that would mortify your ten-year-old self. That, more than anything, sells Sting. Roache-Turner and his team have created a delightful, thrilling, violent, funny and features excellent practical effects. It’s perfect popcorn horror with more heart than you bargain for, primed for the big-screen and late-night movie marathons. The plot can sometimes get predictable, but Roache-Turner plays into the tropes well. The cast rounds out the emotional depths needed to make an audience care. And “Sting” herself provides enough legitimate scares to bring out the arachnophobia in everyone. Sting sells itself quickly in the introduction and never lets up from the wonder of moviemaking. By the time the credits roll, Roache-Turner will have you excited to see it again or screaming “sequel” with all your might. 

Sting (2024)

Directed and Written: Kiah Roache-Turner

Starring: Alya Browne, Penelope Mitchell, Ryan Corr, Jermaine Fowler, Silvia Colloca, Noni Hazlehurst, etc.

Movie score: 9.5/10

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"…will have you excited to see it again or screaming "sequel" with all your might. "

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