Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Syfy Channel Week: Mongolian Death Worm

There's no way that this movie can disappoint me!  While you can fault the folks over at the Syfy Channel for many things (like that stupid name!), you can't fault them for creativity in naming.  Many of the films don't live up to the hype, but they have great titles.  Cases in point: Aztec Rex, WitchvilleMonster Ark and Stonehenge Apocalypse.  Today's title is still my favorite, however, as it tells you exactly what to expect here.  To this film's credit, it actually delivers.  Is it a good film?  Most people would probably say 'no' and I can't blame them.  I, however, had a good time with this, so I thought that I should bring it to your attention.  It stars Sean Patrick Flannery, proving that people with three names can be things other than child stars or serial killers.  If you want to see what this film has to offer, read on.  Un-tape yourself from that chair so that you can avoid being eaten by the...
The film begins with some guys running a machine to search for oil in the ground.  Instead of the full Syfy Opening, we just get a crack in the Earth.  It's a bit later that we actually get our first kill, that of a guy sent down to investigate a noise at the drilling area.  We meet our heroes- some aid workers trying to help out a Mongolian village.  We also meet a man in a rusted out truck (Flannery), who is just trying to make a buck.  He ends up helping out the aid workers on their trip, but it costs them.  We get some bickering between the group, but the lady seems to like Flannery.  The trio get captured by an evil rich dude- who lives in a tent- and threatened with violence.  They escape, however, as Flannery starts a shoot-out and the titular creatures show up.  The aid workers don't see it, setting up a series of scenes in which they are told about the monsters, but don't believe him.  Just wait- they'll show up for you soon enough.
The only real problem with this movie is the complicated cross-cutting.  You see, the movie actually has two plots going on (three if you separate the aid workers).  One of them involves Flannery, the workers and the medicine retrieval.  The other, you see, involves the people at the oil drilling building.  They have not been up to par, so a guy is sent in to check on them.  Basically, he's a low-rent version of Alec Baldwin from Glengary Glenn Ross, only he really does nothing.  His whole character arc just leads to him being tied up and left to die for the titular worms.  I should also mention that overall plot is a search for Genghis Khan's treasure, which both Flannery and the guy running the Facility are looking for.  Meanwhile, the Worms make it to the Aid Clinic, killing one nurse via a blood fountain in a well.  Thankfully, the middle-aged, Mongolian Sheriff shows up and he's got a shotgun.
As the movie comes to a close, a lot more people die.  The whole 'search for the treasure' plot wraps up nicely and a bunch more people die.  Thankfully, Flannery and his lady employ the time-tested strategy of 'running away.'  It's amazing how many people just kind of go 'Huh?  That's a worm.  I should probably run a-*Get Eaten*'  They manage to blow up the facility, since every Syfy film has to end with either an explosion, a fire or both.  As it turns out, a bunch of the treasure is explosion-proof and falls to the ground around them.  Try to avoid the super-heated, falling metal, guys!  The End.
Seriously, those worms are ugly!  The plot of this movie is simple, but can you really expect more?  I mean, this is a Syfy Channel film about killer worms- what do you expect?  That said, it is pretty shallow.  I don't want to use the film's origin as an excuse.  At the same time, however, I enjoyed this movie.  It exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways that Syfy Channel films do not.  For example, the Special Effects here are actually quite good most of the time.  Sure, you get a few moments of obvious digital-insertion, but the things mostly appear to be real.  I think that a lot of is due to the level of detail in the skin texture and how they're lit. Seriously, they're actually good!  Another thing is that the creatures get a good amount of screen time and the pacing is far better than many.  It's funny to think that some films since this movie- i.e. Ice Road Terror- feature worse Special Effects.  See- it's not all technology, people.  If I had to recommend a Syfy Channel film to anyone who wasn't sure about them, this would be it.  It's not great, but it is 'Syfy great.'  Eat that dude's head, Mongolian Death Worm!
Next up, the giant worms move to Afghanistan and get bigger.  This time- it's war!  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty interested in watching this. Not so much because of the Mongolian death worms (I didn't even knew that there are death worms in Mongolia), but because it's directed by Steven Monroe, the man behind the awesome I Spit On Your Grave remake.