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George At 

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Sting

It would be easy to dismiss STING as a cheap "Arachnaphobia" wannabe, but damned if it doesn't have a ton of laughs, gross out moments and some killer performances caught in its very sticky web.

Aussie Director Kiah Roache-Turner lets you know immediately that he's got his tongue planted firmly in-cheek and he's not holding back.

A meteorite rapidly approaches Earth, burning down in the atmosphere to the size of a tiny rock. That rock soars across Manhattan, right through the window of an apartment building and into an ancient dollhouse gathering dust.

But that ain't no rock.

It's an egg of a normal size (apparently interplanetary) black widow sized spider. It finds its way into the glass jar of Charlotte, a young girl who's grandmother and aunt own the entire building, which has seen better days. Charlotte pops up and down in the building through the air vents, crawling through them with the most attitude and screen presence since Carrie Hewn's Newt navigated those air ducts in "Aliens".

Alyla Browne is a terrific young actress and I kept thinking "she wont be in low budget films for long." After about thirty minutes, I realized I had just seen her dominating the Wastelands as Young Furiosa in George Miller's current film "Furiosa". Her turn as Charlotte owns the film. She's funny, she's a brat, she's precocious and she's a little bad ass.

Charlotte's Stepdad Ethan (Ryan Corr) is a wannabe comic strip artist who's about to have his breakout hit, if he can hit his publishing deadline. It wont be easy, juggling Charlotte's baby brother, Charlotte's Mom Heather (Penelope Mitchell from "Hellboy") and his duties as the super of the entire building.

That job is tough enough.

And that's before Charlotte's pet spider, Sting, begins to grow and to FEED.

and GROW!

That damn spider has some talents.

It can mimic sounds like a parrot.

It seems to always be hungry.

It loves sneaking out of its jar at night and navigating the air ducts into all the other apartments.

Silvia Colloca (Van Helsing) is way better than she needs to be as a lonely woman mourning the loss of her young son. When Ethan ends up in her apartment fixing her sink, my low expectations expected her to flirt with him as she drowns her depression in sangria. Nope, she remembers her own son and encourages Ethan to embrace his children.

Wait, what? Strong acting and effective drama? I didn't expect that.

Neither did I expect the graphic, hellaciously gory and fun spider attack that takes place immediately afterward.

STING isn't pulling any punches.

Writer/Director Roache-Turner seems to have loved some of the edited scenes from James Cameron's "Aliens" that detailed the humans cocooned as food in the xenomorphs lair. Our spider seems to be storing up a LOT of food.

I loved Danny Kim's borderline psychopathic performance as a young scientist in the building who gets a bit carried away when Charlotte introduces her pet.

Jermaine Fowler (Sorry to Bother You, Coming 2 America) is hilarious as Frank, an exterminator with real NYC attitude and a nail gun to battle any Manhattan rodent.

The film was shot in Australia and it's kind of funny in its attempts to pretend to be NYC, but the whole thing takes place in a brutal snow & ice storm that helps cover its geographic tracks. A marquee from the Broadway theater down the street where "The Book of Mormon" is playing is a good add.

The entire movie is loaded with throwaway lines and visuals that show some twisted minds behind the scenes. That ALWAYS plays well with me.

If you like your spider movies graphic, gory, funny and surprising, STING's got bite.

I had a mindless blast and give it a B.

Keep an eye on Alyla Browne. The girl is going to be a big star.

Now let's get in those airducts and fight this thing!



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