We Need More Horror Movies Like ‘Sting’

Smart, slick and subversive, this creature feature has plenty of bite

Every kid deserves a pet, but the young heroine in “Sting” gets more than she bargained for.

The latest arachnid thriller spins from a familiar premise but turns into a family affair.

Sound confusing? Not in the hands of director Kiah Roache-Turner (the “Wyrmwood” franchise), who brings a plucky sense of humor to the shocks without going the full horror-comedy hybrid.

The results hardly reinvent the genre, but it’s as sturdy a thriller as you’ll find in the indie ranks.

STING - Official Trailer - Spider Horror 🕷️

Young Charlotte (Alyla Browne) is feeling abandoned following the birth of her brother. Her mother and stepdad (Penelope Mitchell and Ryan Corr) aren’t bad people, but between paying the bills and caring for an infant Charlotte feels left behind.

So when she discovers a spider in her bedroom she decides to make it her pet.

Kids these days!

She doesn’t know that the critter came from outer space, an origin story that doesn’t make much sense but can be quickly ignored for genre expediency.

The widdle spider, or Sting as she dubs him, has a voracious appetite and grows at a frightening clip. It’s not long before Charlotte’s pet starts making itself at home in her apartment building.


Said building is full of “characters,” the kind that makes horror movies even more engaging. That includes Charlotte’s grandmother, a dementia-addled soul deployed for black humor purposes.

Charlotte’s stepfather has enough trouble before Sting enters the scene. He’s juggling multiple jobs and making a mess of it. And Charlotte pines for her biological dad, not her mom’s new beau.

That family friction, which could have played out in a perfunctory fashion, gets serious screen time in “Sting.” It’s not window dressing but a way to put Charlotte’s behavior in context.

It also raises the dramatic stakes, exactly what makes a genre thriller pop.

The title character comes to life via (mostly) practical effects and, considering the film’s indie roots, it’s an impressive feat. Spiders arrive with a built-in ick factor, but “Sting” doesn’t take that for granted.

We also get imaginative kills along with some predictable shocks, but once Sting outgrows his mason jar home the pace proves relentless.

Performances are strong across the board, including young Browne. It’s a shame her character gets a “Home Along”-style makeover, but otherwise the film’s tone and presentation prove consistent.

There’s even a slick prologue that plays a pivotal role in the third act, and it comes with a surprise you won’t see coming.

“Sting” respects the audience enough to deliver a full-bodied family drama between the bloody bits, and it’s sturdy enough to make it stand up to scrutiny.

Strong production values. Old-school effects that look shiny and new. A respectful take on fatherhood in all its guises.

“Sting” hits the mark over and again.

HiT or Miss: “Sting” serves up strong practical effects, a complicated heroine and enough family strife to make the down moments as potent as the creature scenes.


  1. Well Go USA has a penchant for bringing good indies to the market. Got quite a few of ’em in my blu-ray collection.

  2. I’m gonna do a double feature with this and the French film “Infested” for a creepy spider night!

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