Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Victoria Pratt
Directed by Steven R. Monroe
You may have seen the Mongolian death worm featured on such cryptozoology programs as “Destination Truth”, “Lost Tapes”, and “MonsterQuest”. Witnesses that claim to have seen it describe these worms as being 2-5 feet in length, bright red in color, and say it hunts by either spitting acid or disabling victims with an electric shock discharge. Doesn’t that sound like prime fodder for a Syfy monster movie? Maybe one day Syfy will make a movie about the Mongolian death worm because Mongolian Death Worm sure as heck isn’t a Mongolian death worm movie.
Instead director Steven R. Monroe prepares for his remake of I Spit on Your Grave by helming a Syfy flick that you’d swear came about because a producer somewhere watched Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake and decided those head-swallowing worms from the insect pit scene deserved their own picture. These decidedly non-Mongolian death worm worms appear to be bigger than five feet, they are not red, they don’t spew acid, and they don’t paralyze prey with electric shocks. They do roar for some reason. Could have just as easily changed the title to Worm Monsters of the Gobi or Attack of the Giant Banana Slugs or Tremors 10: Quest for the Lost Treasure of Ghengis Khan.
Just as the worms are Mongolian death worms in name only, the same can be said for the country of Mongolia seen in the movie. There sure don’t appear to be many Mongolians in Mongolia. What Mongolian characters there are get relegated to minor roles that mostly end with them either getting shot to death or eaten by monster worms. The only Mongolian character of any importance is a cop, a Mongolian cop dressed in a cowboy hat, cowboy boots, and Wrangler blue jeans driving around Mongolia in a vehicle with the word SHERIFF written on the side in English. Don’t suppose this might all have to do with the movie being shot on location in Texas?
Sean Patrick Flanery of Boondock Saints fame does his most annoying Dane Cook impression as a scrappy American running around Mongolia with a meter that detects electrical volts he contends will somehow help him finally locate the tomb in which Genghis Khan’s lost treasure is buried. Legend says that the death worms guard over the treasure, so when faced with a giant killer worm, rather than reacting with abject terror, he just realizes he’s getting closer to his goal.
Victoria Pratt, formerly of “Cleopatra 2525” and “Mutant X”, sounds bored with her thankless role as a Doctors Without Borders physician paying Flanery for a ride to a nearby village suffering from an outbreak. Her relationship with the initially selfish Flanery will remain platonic; just as well given their lack of chemistry and witless banter.
Trouble arises for them less so from the worms than from the murderous bandits with a bounty on Flanery’s head and the scheming supervisor of the nearby oil refinery who seems to know a little something regarding this lost treasure and is willing to kill over it.
Mongolian Death Worm really isn’t even about Mongolian death worms. The treasure hunt and oil refinery trouble take center stage over the worms until the closing minutes. Prior to that the worms appear at random intervals to randomly kill random people and then either slither away or get blown up. The low budgets of these Syfy movies never fail to hinder the amount of monster action, and I suspect there may have been even less this go-around since casting Sean Patrick Flanery probably came with a little heftier price tag than that paid to the “Stargate” TV actors typically headlining Syfy films.
Once you’ve seen the worms in action one time, you’ve seen all they have to offer. They’re very slow moving, can be killed with a single gunshot, and without their grabby mouth tongue to reel victims in, they would easily rank amongst the most feeble movie monsters in recent memory. And since it bears repeating, they’re not really Mongolian death worms. For that alone I’m going to deduct an extra half point.
Even if these worms had been accurate to legend, Mongolian Death Worm would still be another instantly forgettable Syfy monster-of-the-week formula feature. I’m sure for some it will pass the time on a rainy day. Hopefully you live in an arid climate.
1 1/2 out of 5
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