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Stung (Blu-ray Review)

StungCreated in the vein of the 1950s Giant Monster movies, Stung pits wasps against WASPS in a tale of contemporary “bee-movie” madness set at an upscale garden party.   A delightfully gory creature feature, Stung will make its Blu-ray and DVD debut on November 3rd from Scream Factory, in partnership with IFC Midnight. Stung features a swarm of bonus content, including audio commentary with director Benni Diez, producer Benjamin Munz, and writer Adam Aresty; a Making of ‘Stung’ featurette; production blogs; and more! Fans can pre-order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory.com.  The film features screen legend and American treasure Lance Henriksen facing off against giant ferocious wasps…what more do you want?

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Film 

In Stung, a fancy garden party goes terribly wrong after a local species of wasps mutate into giant predators. It’s up to Pauland Julia, two catering staffers at the high-society event , to stop the killer creatures – an effort that kickstarts a budding romance between the two.

Lance Henriksen VS Giant Killer Mutated Wasps.  Okay, you sold me.  Lance really isn’t the main character in all this, but he does get to do some battle with the ferocious monsters invading the film.  Stung throws back to creature features of cinema’s past.  The film doesn’t just settle on being that, though, as it definitely adds some modern touches and attempts to go a smarter route with things.  Plus, we’re following some pretty likeable characters and actors in this jumble.

What is really impressive with Stung is its effects.  This is clearly a film on the cheaper side of things, but its effects would make you think otherwise.  The CG in the film melds wonderfully with the practical to a point where you don’t know which is which a majority of the time.  These bugs do some gross stuff to people.  They get torn apart inside and out.  Its goopy, its gross and its awesome!  There’s a ton of fun for the gore hound here to go around with the giant creature lover.

Stung is a film that works on both the midnight movie kind of level, but also in the Saturday afternoon matinee field.  Its got the touch of a SyFy original film, but its quite a bit more competent, smarter and way better in the effects department.  I had a lot more fun with this movie than I expected to have.  For those looking for a solid creature feature, you should definitely give this a shot via rental.

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Video 

Encoding:  MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail:  Stung comes with a very very nice looking polished image.  Its nice and sharp, with very good detail like raindrops on a truck, dirt and blood patches on surfaces, clothing texture, you name it.  Also, impressively, the CG effects look great here and feel a part of the film.  They aren’t super obvious as can happen with some of these low budget ones.

Depth:  The image is very loose, with characters and objects feeling a good space and distance from one another and free in their environment.  Movements are smooth.  Background detail is very defined when the focus gives the opportunity.

Black Levels:  Blacks are nice a little inky.  They provide plenty of shading and a little help in sharpness.  No real detail is lost and no crushing ever appears.

Color Reproduction:  Reds are a stand out.  They can look a myriad of ways, whether they be natural, bold or vivid.  Blood has many tints.  The rest of the colors, like green and blue, appear strong as well.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are a little cold and consistent throughout the film’s runtime.  Skin detail like stubble, wrinkles, make-up and blood and dirt stains are insanely well documented here and show from any given distance the framing has.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  This is a good clean, workman audio track.  Sound effects are nice, refined and layered here in the mix.  There is a healthy balance of vocals, score and effects without one stepping on another’s toes.  Each shines in areas abut never encroaches on the other.

Low Frequency Extension:  Fly wings swooping, crashing, fire burning and impalings all get a nice boost from your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Most of the action happens up front, where you get an accurate portrayal of the events on screen with movements and character/creature placements.  The rear speakers provide a healthy dose of ambiance and scoring.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp and clear.

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Extras 

Stung comes with reversible cover art, the other side featuring a really cool alternate poster for the film.

Audio Commentary

  • With Producer Benjamin Munz, Director Benni Diez and Writer Adam Aresty

Making Of Stung (HD, 21:25) – Interviews with the writer and director as they take us through the production history mixed in with on-set/behind the scenes footage.  Some cast members give a little bit of blurbs in here too from the set.

Production Blog (HD, 21:30) – A collection of all the video blogs ran for promotion of the film.  Covers many different aspects of production like table reads and effects.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:12) 

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Summary 

Stung is a film I’ve seen attempted what feels like many times in modern horror.  Throwback to the creature feature of the 1950s.  Most of the time the luster wears off, or its just a film that is junk.  This one actually manages to be pretty entertaining throughout.  This Blu-ray gives you a good audio and video presentation of the film as well as a nice handful of extras that won’t overdo it.  For those who want to own it, this is a very nice release.  However, as much as I think this is a neat little film, it may file more under the rental department than buy as I’m not sure its something one would go back to much.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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