Tail Sting (2001)

Tail Sting (2001)

A Tail of Terror

A charter plane is carrying a cargo of genetically engineered scorpions. One of the passengers is actually a secret agent working for another company who have hired him to steal the research. During the theft, he accidentally frees scorpions and they make their way through the plane, killing off passengers and crew. It’s up to the remaining survivors to try and stop the scorpions from crashing the plane.


Long before Snakes on a Plane dreamt up the idea of letting loose a load of poisonous snakes on a plane, Tail Sting came along in 2001 and did one better – it set free some giant scorpions. The story sounds a lot more riveting on paper than it does on the screen, believe me. It’s amazing how some films really try to blast through their limited budgets with visions of grandeur. Someone has got to try. For every Tail Sting, there’s The Evil Dead or The Blair Witch Project. However when a film has a budget this low and the idea of bringing giant scorpions to life, that sort of vision will turn into a nightmare soon enough.

Tail Sting has a heart but it hasn’t got a pulse. The sets look really cheap and most of the film is based around the same handful. Physics isn’t one of the strengths of the script either. The dimensions of the plane are blown out of proportion. The cargo hold is absolutely huge yet the passenger section is tiny. How do the scorpions get all of the way to the cockpit via some really small pipes and vents when they’re supposed to be giants? How come in some scenes there’s this huge tail striking down at a victim yet in others the scorpions are barely bigger than the seats and aisle? The scorpions are supposed to be the stars of the show yet they look rubbish. The scorpion on the front cover looks suitably menacing but we don’t see much of them like that at all. You’ll get a glimpse of a rubber tail for close-up shots of attacks and cheap-looking puppets are used for other shots. I admire the lack of CGI scorpions so I’m not going to mark it down for that. At least they tried to make the scorpions real. The problem here is that as soon as we see how pathetic and badly designed these creatures are, the whole thing descends into absurdity.

Everything else about the film is rather flimsy, weak and played strictly by the book. The story is ridiculously contrived, even before Snakes on a Plane came out. You know what is going to happen and at no point does the film become anything other than predictable and clichéd. The characters are horrendously stereotypical. You’ve got the action man pilot with a troubled past, the feisty heroine, the old scientist, the slimy executive and two Middle Eastern immigrants who border on being blatantly racist (and rather alarmingly, two Middle Eastern men who appear to have sinister motives, on a plane, in 2001…).

Most of the acting is bad but considering that there are no ‘named’ actors in display here, some of them are passable at best. You could argue that Tail Sting does a better job of sending up this creature feature genre than Snakes on a Plane. Tail Sting plays everything seriously and some wonderfully awful lines coupled with some straight-faced seriousness from the cast account for some truly dire moments of pure cheese. It’s unintentional comedy but in many respects, it works better that way.


Tail Sting doesn’t have any sting its tail at all. Lame, predictable and a waste of time and money.





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