Mongolian Death Worm
by Jef Burnham
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Sean Patrick Flanery (The Boondock Saints) stars in this Syfy Original Movie in which greedy, oil drilling Americans awaken the titular, mythical beasts from their ancient slumber deep beneath the Gobi Desert. And these worms have got one mean hunger on for supporting characters!
Mongolian Death Worm’s biggest problem is its painfully uninspired screenplay. There are frankly too many storylines for any of them to be developed in any sort of substantive, interesting way and it lacks a cohesive structure. Moreover, the acting is likewise painful as a result. What really offends the imagination is that a quick Google search of the Mongolian death worm reveals that the creatures are purportedly bright red, spit sulfuric acid and shoot electricity, and yet, the worms in the movie are completely bland! How could you go wrong here?! Well, you could make the worms slowish, gray slugs whose only power is causing flu-like symptoms and try to compensate on a script level with a triptych of tales about oil drilling, treasure hunting and whiny doctors, none of which anyone will give half a damn about.
Furthermore, I’m sure something could be said about the film’s abundance of American characters versus the relative lack of Mongolian characters in main roles, not to mention the proportion of the Mongolian characters who get eaten by the death worms versus the three or so American deaths. But the movie is so inconsequential that it’s hardly worth thinking about.
If you hear that Syfy is doing an encore screening of Mongolian Death Worm, and you find yourself intrigued, take my advice and rent Tremors instead— even if you’ve already seen it. They’re actually very similar movies, except that, unlike Mongolian Death Worm, Tremors has a decent script, interesting monsters, engaging characters, a great cast, is well-acted, and is generally fun to watch.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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