FILM REVIEWS: Spider horror Sting and Disney’s Young Woman and the Sea

Every building has spiders, but there’s somewhere in Westside where they might make you jump out of your skin.

The Park Virtual Reality Experience on Water’s Edge, Brindleyplace knows a thing or two about springing surprises on guests once they are wearing a headset, so be warned which challenge you choose.

Meanwhile, if you definitely want spider on your visual menu, head to either Cineworld Broad Street or Odeon Broadway Plaza this weekend for an Australian horror film where a create with eight legs will await your delectation – or screams depending on your persuasion.

Sting (15, 92 mins). EB White’s classic 1952 story Charlotte’s Web was about a female spider of that name. Here we have a horror movie in which a girl called Charlotte has a secret spider pet she names Sting,

Unfortunately for some of the film’s Brooklyn apartment building characters including residents and pets alike, the more she feeds it, the more this arrival from space grows. Ooops!

The verdict: *** This Australian B-movie style film, with special effects by New Zealand’s Weta (The Lord of the Rings), is happy to put its characters first to enhance the juicy bits later. And so, when the spider grows and becomes the heart of a flesh-chasing monster movie, Charlotte has to try to save her family.

Taglined ‘Your biggest fear just got bigger’, there are hints of Aliens and, of course, Arachnaphobia (1990), a bigger-name film which starred Jeff Daniels and John Goodman and was debut directed by Spielberg’s long time producer Frank Marshall.

But it’s also a reminder of a recent Finish film, Hatching, in which another 12-year-old girl took a large egg home to hatch in bed.

Sting isn’t as annoying as so many modern horrors with their predilection for cheap jump scares. Indeed, there’s a really imaginative plant shadow at one point. But, unless you are genuinely scared of spiders, then it’s unlikely to raise all of the hairs on the back of your neck.

It takes longer than Gremlins to get going and then, just when you are in the mood for some real carnage, the picture itself runs out of legs – even though spiders have eight.

Young Woman and the Sea (PG, 129 mins). You’ve almost certainly never heard of Gertrude ‘Trudy’ Ederle, who died in 2003 aged 98. But you’ll be full of admiration for her character by the end of this family-friendly biopic.

Born to immigrant parents in Coney Island, New York in 1905, she overcame various challenges in a patriarchal society to rise through the ranks of the Olympic swimming team ready to attempt to swim across the English Channel in 1926.

The verdict: **** Made by Disney, it’s produced by Jerry Bruckheimer whose gloss-filled action CV ranges from Flashdance and The Rock to Bad Boys, Pearl Harbour, Armageddon, Enemy of the State and Top Gun: Maverick.

Now aged 80, much of his best work was done in conjunction with co-producer Don Simpson, who sadly died aged just 52 in 1996. But this is a renaissance movie, well worth seeking out at Cineworld Broad Street.

If you enjoyed real-life biopics from champion horse Seabiscuit to the against-the-odds space drama of Apollo 13 and, earlier this year, the nun story Cabrini, you’ll love this. It’s certainly better than George Clooney’s laboured recent story of the US rowers, The Boys In The Boat.

The film is beautifully shot and Star Wars British actress Daisy Ridley shines in the leading role which will hopefully inspire all viewers to step up at whatever they are good at or want to achieve.

The film is based on Glenn Stout’s book “Young Woman and the Sea: How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Inspired the World.” Perhaps there will be babies!

Picture credits: Young Woman And The Sea, Disney; Sting, StudioCanal.

ENDS

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