Giant mutated wasps crash a social gathering in this excellent homage to those mutated bug flicks of the fabulous fifties.
The action begins from a wasp’s perspective as the camera zooms in from above on a hapless insect which is promptly poked by our mutant flier. We then get a cool look at the inner workings of a bug’s body chemistry as the wasp’s larva invades the new host. The credits roll as we zip around the insect’s interior.
Next we meet our human heroes. They consist of a two person catering company. Julia is the boss who is trying to make a go of this business venture with the assistance of Paul. Unfortunately Paul appears to be a doped out slacker who requires extra supervision.
It is obvious from the get-go that Paul has a soft spot for Julia . It’s hard to tell if she even notices as she is totally consumed with keeping the company afloat. They are en route to a quiet country home where they have been engaged to serve food and drinks at an annual memorial service. Little do they realize that this may be their last gig.
Turns out this is the same spot where our mutated wasps are hiding .They are soon freed from an underground nest to torment the party goers. The partiers include the rich ,but sheltered, Sydney and the local Mayor, Carruthers, who shows up half in the bag and make s a ‘beeline’ for the bar.
It doesn’t take long for our mutated stars to join the party. They proceed to sting half of the guests and implant their young . The new human/wasp hybrids quickly rip their way out of the host bodies and emerge as six foot nasties with a healthy appetite for upper crust party people.
The survivors barricade themselves in the house where Paul emerges as a stand up guy ready to lead them to safety. Despite his best efforts this task proves impossible. Plan two is downgraded to just saving Julia but that task gets blundered too when Paul gets carried off by the Queen Bee.
In a wink to “Aliens’ we wind up with Julia taking the battle to the hive in a last ditch effort to save Paul before he can become den mother to a new batch of bugs. These pests are about to discover they cooked up some trouble when they picked a fight with this caterer. It all leads to a hair rising climax that manages to milk a lot of suspense out of a cowbell.
Fun stuff that moves quickly and manages to deliver on the mayhem, special effects, and suspense fronts. They also get to have their cake and eat it too by making the caterers people you care about. That said there is a weird vibe here every time someone opens their mouth. Turns out this was shot in Germany so all of the supporting characters speak broken English and sometimes use phrases that make you go, huh? It adds to the overall effect, however as the guests are also social misfits who have money and prestige but no game.
The wasps look great on film and don’t appear to be CGI when they interact with the humans. The performances are also good with Matt O’Leary and Jessica Cook doing a fine job as the romantic leads Lance Henricksen is also good as the drunken Mayor. He even gets to do a spin on his classic performance as Bishop in ‘Aliens” when he volunteers to be the first one to squeeze through a tight tunnel. Clifton Collins Jr. also carves out a few good moments as the oddball son of the Hostess.
The scene where the wasps first attack the party is a classic in monster mayhem and ranks right up there with a similar bit from 1980’s “Alligator” wherein a 20 foot lizard crashed a wedding party. All told this is a welcome return to the ‘creature features of old.
Best Lines: “We spray for wasps. Don’t we?”
‘The weenie got bit and didn’t tell us.”
“Somebody’s got an ouchie.”
Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.