Sting Review

Wyrmwood director Kiah Roache-Turner returns with the spider-from-space creature feature Sting, coming soon to theatres

Sting review

PLOT: A 12-year-old girl decides to keep a spider as a pet, not aware that the eight-legged creature is not of this world. The more it eats, the more it grows, and soon a giant space arachnid is running loose in an apartment building, snacking on the residents.

REVIEW: Filmmaker Kiah Roache-Turner is best known for his wild and crazy zombie movies Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead and Wyrmwood: Apocalypse, which blended inspiration from Mad Max and Dawn of the Dead to tell the story of a unique zombie outbreak where the living dead have flammable blood and exhale methane. I enjoyed both of those movies, and though I haven’t seen Roache-Turner’s action comedy Nekrotronic yet, it sounds like it’s pretty much in line with the tone of the Wyrmwood flicks, as it tells the story of “a man who discovers that he is part of a secret sect of magical beings who hunt down and destroy demons in the Internet.” While Roache-Turner collaborated with his brother Tristan for his previous three features, he went solo for his latest movie, the spider-themed horror movie Sting, and he also decided to shake up his style and tone along the way. Sting is much more grounded than the Wyrmwoods, despite the fact that it deals with a man-eating, steadily-growing spider that falls to the earth in a tiny meteorite.

A lot of filmmakers like to cite the Amblin glory days as a source of inspiration when telling stories of regular people dealing with something extraordinary, and while I have yet to see Roache-Turner say he was going for a throwback vibe with this one, during my viewing of Sting I did get a bit of the feeling that comes with watching Spielberg productions like Poltergeist, E.T., The Goonies, Batteries Not Included, Gremlins, Arachnophobia, etc. I also had the occasional flashback to Critters 3 (which Spielberg was definitely not involved with), since that’s another creature feature that takes place in an apartment building. That said, when the horror kicks in, there’s at least one gory death scene that goes further than anything we saw in Gremlins or Arachnophobia, earning the film its R rating.

Sting review

The story centers on a young girl named Charlotte (Alyla Browne), who has a lot of time to herself now that her mom Heather (Penelope Mitchell) and stepfather Ethan (Ryan Corr) have a baby that gets most of their attention when they’re not busy working. Charlotte spends some of her free time making her way around the apartment building they live in by crawling around in the air ducts. Of course, her familiarity with the air ducts will come in handy when things get horrific, but Roache-Turner takes his time building up to that action. The movie begins with a shot of a meteorite streaking across the sky above a snow-covered New York City (the movie was filmed in Sydney, Australia, but that doesn’t matter much since it takes place entirely in and around the apartment building). This tiny stone busts through a window in Charlotte’s apartment building, landing in the apartment her senile grandmother Helga (Noni Hazlehurst) shares with Charlotte’s unpleasant great-aunt Gunter (Robyn Nevin). Then it splits open and a spider emerges… and when Charlotte finds that spider, she decides to keep it in a jar as a pet, naming it Sting after the Elven dagger in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Problem is, the otherworldly critter grows incredibly quickly, its size increasing every time it eats something, and it’s very hungry.

Sting is soon causing trouble for the building’s inhabitants, and Roache-Turner populated the place with some interesting characters. In addition to the family already mentioned, there’s Silvia Colloca as Maria, a heartbroken woman who drinks too much and shares her apartment with an adorable chihuahua, and Danny Kim as Erik, an odd fellow who aims to cure diabetes through experiments he conducts on fish in his apartment. Jermaine Fowler has some fun scenes as exterminator Frank. As the story plays out, Roache-Turner spends a commendable amount of time on character work, making sure we know most of these people, understand their situations, and come to care about some of them… which allows for some shocking moments in the second half.

The writer/director also played around with character expectations in a fun way, starting the movie with a flash forward that indicates one person isn’t going to be around very long. Then when we jump back in time a few days, we get to spend more time with that character – and by the end, I was hoping for this person I had been eager to see more of was going to get taken out, because they were complicating things for characters I cared more about. The movie walks a fine line with the characters it puts in peril. If Roache-Turner didn’t handle things just right, he could completely lose some viewers… and I won’t say how he handled things, but I will say that the movie never lost me.

I figured Sting would be a fun creature feature, and it is, but I appreciated that Roache-Turner didn’t slack in the character department. Some filmmakers would put their entire focus on the spider action, but he actually managed to make me worry about some of these people. When combined with the familiar tone and some cool special effects work, that really enhanced my enjoyment of the movie. I had a good time watching this one, and I think a lot of my fellow creature feature fans will have fun with it as well.

The Wyrmwoods guaranteed that I would always be curious to see what Kiah Roache-Turner would make next, but after watching Sting, I’m even more intrigued to watch his career continue to grow. I look forward to his next film (especially since it’s a World War II shark thriller), and will definitely be circling back to watch Nekrotronic in the meantime.

Well Go USA will be bringing Sting to North American theatres on April 12th.

Review: Wyrmwood director Kiah Roache-Turner returns with the spider-from-space creature feature Sting, coming soon to theatres

Sting (2024)



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About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.