Stinger (2005)

Stinger (2005)

Terror has surfaced

Following the reappearance of a thought-lost submarine containing a top-secret project, an investigative team is sent to the submerged vessel to find out what happened. After finding the submarine crew dead and ripped to pieces, they soon uncover just what killed them – a swarm of genetically-enhanced scorpions which are loose on board the sub.

 

Even by the low standards that many a horror film reviewed on this site, there always seems to be another one which seeks to lower the stakes. Enter Stinger, a feeble underwater creature feature with about as much venom as a headless snake. Made in Sweden, a country not exactly renowned for their film-making prowess, Stinger bears all of the hallmarks of a low budget American monster movie. Awful CGI effects, cardboard cut-out military characters with token big-breasted blonde scientists (at least the Swedes know where their strengths lay!) and a lot of too-ing and fro-ing in the corridors without a lot happening.

Stinger has minimal plot. There’s a brief pre-credits sequence setting up the events which led to the submarine going missing, then the titles and then the rescue mission is on its way. It’s a vague set-up which on one hand doesn’t insult the viewer by spewing out a load of nonsense but on the other hand, the rest of the film proves to be somewhat plot-less. The film then spends the rest of its running time going around in circles in the submarine, as the characters look around various corridors and rooms, run into the scorpions a few times and meet a crazy survivor, all with little or no purpose. Expect the usual tropes to take place here: instead of bailing at the first sign of trouble, the team finds itself stuck there and need to repair the systems in order to escape.

The film is almost entirely set on board the submarine (and the other bits are on the other mini-sub) and whilst the sets do allow for some claustrophobic elements to come to the fore, the lack of light and low production values really harm the atmosphere. At no point do you ever believe that they’re underwater. The grainy, murky film stock does little to assist the film’s intentions either. Characters’ faces are hidden in shadows, you can’t really see too much of the set (probably not such a bad thing) and there’s definitely no chance of getting a good look at the CGI scorpions which lurk in the shadowy background. The scorpions look bad and at no point will you believe they’re running around the submarine, the animations is just too awful to blend in with the real footage. Their eventual demise happens off-screen, such as the lameness of the plot and the lack of budget that this entire thing shows.

There are no recognisable faces on show and that’s a bonus as none of these sub-par stand-ins do any good. Check out their acting credits on IMDB and Stinger is one of the only films that the majority of them made. There’s little acting range: the marines talk tough and shout orders, the scientists talk slowly and arrogantly, and the psychotic survivor goes overdrive with the ramblings. The token blonde character gets to show off why Sweden is the go-to places for stunning women but it’s so predictable that she’s going to take her top off (and twice for the good of it), it ruins the eventual delights. It’s about the only thrill you’ll get from this, as the rest of the running time is dull and uneventful. Even the ‘action scenes’ fail to raise the pulse as marines fire guns aimlessly at non-existent scorpions.

 

Forgetting its European origins, everything about Stinger stinks of the low budget American creature feature market dominated by Sy Fy and The Asylum. But even their efforts are head-and-shoulders above this drivel.  If you have a burning desire to get a fix of killer scorpions, delve into the archives and watch The Black Scorpion from the 50s. The human elements may just be as bad but at least the scorpions pack a punch.

 

 ★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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