Sting parents guide

Sting Parent Guide

All a monster movie needs is a cool monster, and this flick has one. It also has plenty of gore and too much profanity.

Overall D

Theaters: A girl finds and tends a small spider, only to realize that this little arachnid isn't what she thinks it is.

Release date April 12, 2024

Violence D
Sexual Content A
Profanity D
Substance Use C

Why is Sting rated R? The MPAA rated Sting R for violent content, bloody images, and language

Run Time: 91 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Twelve-year-old Charlotte (Alyla Browne), plagued by both the trials of adolescence and a six-month-old half-brother, is not having the time of her life. Lately, she’s taken to using the apartment complex’s intricate (and surprisingly adult-sized) ventilation system to wander around into other units – including her unpleasant great-aunt Gunta’s (Robyn Nevin) storage room.

A recent trip to the storage unit led to a discovery far more interesting than old dolls - a strange little spider sitting in front of a hole in the window. Naturally, Charlotte scoops the arachnid into a jar and starts feeding it cockroaches. It doesn’t take long before Sting, as Charlotte names the critter, has more than doubled in size and begun whistling to the girl when she gets hungry for another roach. Unbeknownst to Charlotte, not only is Sting not really a spider, but whistling isn’t Sting’s only trick: she’s also figured out how to unscrew the lid to her jar from the inside…

The one thing I love about this movie is, bizarrely enough, the titular giant spider, and not just because she kept snacking on irritating secondary characters – although that is very much a service rendered on her part. No, my affection is for her construction, which later in the film is largely practical instead of digital. According to director and legendary Weta Workshop mastermind Sir Richard Taylor, this consisted of a hefty animatronic arachnid relying on no fewer than six operators to manage eight legs and all those mandibles. You don’t see this kind of practical effect in lower budget horror films anymore, and I’m really hoping this is the beginning of the B-movie-horror Creature Feature renaissance. (There’s some sequel-baiting before credits roll, so I might get my wish.) Computer generated characters are more impressive than they’ve ever been, but there’s still something ineffable about seeing a real object moving through a real environment, interacting with real characters. You know it when you see it, and I always appreciate it.

All a monster movie really needs is a cool monster and Sting has one. The downside is that she’s awfully under-used for most of the runtime. The first ten minutes and the last twenty are a blast, and for that sweet half hour, I had almost no complaints. Unfortunately, the hour in between drops from a brisk scuttle to a ruminant crawl. It’s supposed to raise the tension, having the spider (still, at this point, fairly small) picking around the snowed-in apartment and munching on some of the unwitting occupants, but mostly it just feels slow. It’s not an easy balance to find, but I’d argue that Sting doesn’t need to hide its monster, like Alien tends to. It’s not like you don’t know what a spider looks like – this one’s just bigger.

Now, obviously, this movie would be a poor choice for the arachnophobes amongst us, and not a wonderful selection for the kids either, mostly owing to the graphic carnage and regular profanity. There’s no small amount of drinking either, although it is limited to adult characters. For adult horror fans, this is a reasonably fun hour-and-a-half with plenty of blood, scuttling, and a little bit of a pace problem.

Directed by Kiah Tuner-Roach. Starring Alyla Brown, Ryan Corr, Penelope Mitchell. Running time: 91 minutes. Theatrical release April 12, 2024. Updated

Rating & Content Info

Why is Sting rated R? Sting is rated R by the MPAA for violent content, bloody images, and language

Violence:   Several insects, a cat, a parrot, and a handful of humans are violently slaughtered by a giant alien spider. Bodies are seen in strange states of mutilation. A woman breaks her neck in a fall, and the spider crawls into her mouth and eats her alive from the inside out.
Sexual Content: None.
Profanity: There are at least 26 sexual expletives, half a dozen scatological curses, and frequent use of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking, sometimes to excess. Several characters are implied to be alcoholics.

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This film makes frequent visual reference to horror films like Alien. Fans of the old fashioned practical-effects driven creature feature will also appreciate The Thing, The Fly, Scanners, An American Werewolf in London, or VHS darling and cult classic Evil Dead – a franchise which saw a return to form recently with Evil Dead Rise, similarly featuring a beleaguered family seemingly stuck in their apartment.