Sting: Mark Kermode’s horror movie review (video).

Mark Kermode drops in for a quick review of the horror movie, Sting (nothing to do with the pop artist of the same name). Watch it above.

And what did we think? Read on for our review of Sting—the 2024 horror film that dares to ask, “What if your pet spider turned into a gargantuan killing machine?” Directed and written by Kiah Roache-Turner, this film offers a delightful blend of unintentional comedy and creature feature tropes. Starring Ryan Corr, Alyla Browne, and Penelope Mitchell, “Sting” is the kind of movie that makes you question your life choices, much like Charlotte, the film’s rebellious 12-year-old protagonist, must have when she decided to keep a glowing, crash-landed spider as a pet.

The plot kicks off in a dilapidated apartment building where Charlotte lives with her overworked step-father, Ethan, her mother Heather, and her baby half-brother Liam. Charlotte, neglected and left to her own devices, discovers a tiny spider from a mysterious glowing object and decides it would make a cute pet. Naturally, she names it Sting. Because what could possibly go wrong?

As expected, Sting grows at an alarming rate, and Charlotte’s secret becomes increasingly difficult to hide. The spider’s insatiable appetite soon leads to a string of dead pets and residents. One would think the neighbors would notice, but apparently, they’re as oblivious as Charlotte’s family. The film’s attempt at meaningful family drama unfolds predictably, with strained relationships and over-the-top meltdowns. Ethan’s tantrum results in Sting attacking the parents while Charlotte remains blissfully unaware, tending to her baby brother.

The tension supposedly escalates when Sting, now a gigantic monster, begins trapping residents in the building. Charlotte accidentally learns the spider’s weakness from her grandmother, leading to a ludicrously orchestrated showdown in the basement. With the help of Ethan, Charlotte lures Sting into a trash compactor, finally destroying the beast. But, of course, not without sustaining significant losses. The film ends with a classic horror trope: a hint at a sequel, as Sting has laid several eggs, with one beginning to hatch.

Released on April 12, 2024, in the US and Canada, “Sting” grossed a modest $825,797 during its opening weekend. As of mid-May, it made a worldwide total of $1,611,120, with North America accounting for the lion’s share. Clearly, giant spiders are a niche market.

Critical reception has been as mixed as you’d expect. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 70% approval rating based on 92 reviews, with an average rating of 5.9/10. Metacritic, more blunt, scores it a 57 out of 100. Critics seem to agree that while “Sting” offers some entertainment, it’s hardly a memorable addition to the genre. Meagan Navarro of Bloody Disgusting appreciated Alyla Browne’s performance and the practical creature effects, giving it a 3/5. Bill Goodykoontz of The Arizona Republic also rated it 3/5, calling it a “solid if unspectacular entry into the eww-gross-spiders category.” Variety’s Owen Gleiberman was less kind, describing it as a “cheeseball trifle” that knows its place in the B-movie pantheon.

In summary, “Sting” is your go-to film if you’re in the mood for some creature feature nostalgia, complete with overused horror tropes and a storyline that’s as thin as a spider’s web. It’s not groundbreaking, it’s not particularly scary, but hey, at least it’s consistent. If you’ve ever wondered what happens when a child’s neglected pet turns into a building-sized arachnid, “Sting” is here to scratch that bizarre itch. Just don’t expect it to linger in your memory—or make you any less afraid of spiders.


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

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