Aussie monster movie lacks legs

Will Ferris
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Sting (15, 92 minutes)

When my father realised he wouldn’t have to subject himself to a film all about his biggest phobia (along with glitter, garlic and Jimmy Krankie), I could almost hear his sigh of relief from across the fields of England.

Luckily, I’ve come to the rescue to see what can be done with yet another film about giant spiders. It’s not like there hasn’t been enough of them – Arachnophobia, Eight Legged Freaks, Shelob from Lord of the Rings or even that plastic daddy longlegs Tim Curry turns into back in the 90’s adaptation of IT.

Does filmmaker Kiah Roache-Turner’s Aussie monster flick set in the US, simply titled ‘STING’, give us anything new?

Well…not exactly.

Angsty 12-year-old Charlotte (Alyla Browne, who can also be seen playing a young Furiosa in George Miller’s new Mad Max saga) lives with her dysfunctional family – including Stepdad Ethan (Ryan Corr) and Mother Heather (Penelope Mitchell) – in a crappy old apartment block. Unsure about her new family dynamic, including the arrival of a new baby brother, Charlotte keeps her distance and one day stumbles upon a glowing meteorite with an egg inside.

From that space egg hatches a little spider that she chooses to keep as a pet, naming it…oh, you can guess. Before you know it, Sting (no, not that one) is growing into a massive beast (and a clever one at that) which develops a taste for human flesh. The family must band together to survive.

In terms of the effects here, Sting excels thanks to a mixture of puppetry and CGI. The creature is pure nightmare fuel with its huge hairy legs stomping through the protagonist’s apartment, crawling up the walls and eating people alive.

Sadly, that’s as good as it gets. You get exactly what’s on the tin here – and it’s not the tantric obsessed bass player from The Police. The filmmakers try to push the stepdad plus stepdaughter equals happy family narrative, but the result is something far more cringy and distracting against an eight-legged monster chomping away on the other residents.

If it’s a quick thrill you want that’s guaranteed to gross you out a bit, this might be for you. For those who hunger for well-developed, deeper stories, Sting will surely be reduced to something that’s on in the background with the sound turned down.