Review: The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

Just because you have a good idea doesn't mean you can make it interesting.

I have to be honest with you, I cannot accurately review The Human Centipede without spoiling it. You need to know exactly how ridiculous this all is. That was your warning.

I just want to say that I really dig Tom Six's idea. The horror of someone actually sewing three people together, anus to mouth, and connecting them by one digestive system is truly terrifying. As sick as it sounds, you have to admit it's different and interesting. If this project had fallen into the hands of say, Eli Roth or Wes Craven, we would've had a truly terrifying film. But instead, we get something that has more plot holes then the centipede has legs. I'm going to illustrate said plot holes with parenthesis.

Two pretty (token) American Tourists Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) are enjoying their European vacation. They are currently in Germany and are searching for a Night club. (in the middle of nowhere) Of course, they get lost in the forest and their tire blows out. After unsuccessfully trying to flag down other drivers and have no cell reception, they get out to walk. Jenny remarks that she doesn't want to walk because she's wearing shorts and heels, not because it's dark, creepy, and stormy. Because she's in SHORTS and HEELS. The eventually fall upon the home of Dr. Heiter, (Dieter Laser) who after staring at them like a pedophile lets them in.

This is where the mistakes start. Creepy old guy offers them drinks, they accept. (but don't watch him pour the drinks, otherwise they'd notice the ruffies he drops in them) They ask HIM to make the phone call to the "car dealer place" (he fakes it, of course) Soon enough our poor girls end up in his basement tied to hospital beds. A Japanese man, Katsuro, (Akihiro Kitamara) soon joins them. I'm pretty sure they never mention his name in the film, but that's what he's listed as. Dr. Heiter (The best doctor in the world at separating Siamese Twins! Because that's how you should always introduce yourself) thoroughly explains what he's going to do to his patients (complete with PowerPoint presentation) He's already done this to his dogs who have died. We get a shot of their grave reading "My Sweet 3 Dog" many times in the film. While he's putting them under so that he can break their knees (so they can't stand up while sewed together, not that they could even if they tried) and pull out their teeth, Lindsay breaks lose. (Easily, I might add. If it was so easy to do that I don't know why she didn't do it immediately when she woke up.) There's also a scene where she falls into his pool, and Dr. Heiter stands above her with a tranq gun waiting for her to come up for air. (Though knowing what was in store for her, even knowing she will be the middle piece, she still comes up for air. I would've just drowned myself. Easy way out)

He gets her, and eventually completes the surgery in his basement. (Dr Heiter must also have super human strength, because he some how gets the Centipede OFF of the Table and takes it UP the stairs.) They wake up, freak out, Katsuro is at the front, screaming away in Japanese. Dr Heiter is pleased. He tries to teach them fetch, eventually feeds them, (although as sick as that should've been, the fact that the girls are making the same noises throughout the entire film really didn't set that scene apart from the others) and beats them when they try to escape. They are all crawling around just fine, which is peculiar since he broke their kneecaps. After a few days two Policemen show up at his door because someone (who, I don't know, he lives in the middle of nowhere) claimed to have heard an American woman scream. (Yep, they can tell the nationality from the screams.) Dr. Heiter essentially gives himself away and the suspicious Policemen leave, The Centipede knows someone is there, so they execute their great escape. They stab Dr Heiter with a scalpel (but they don't kill him?!) and in a truly hard scene to watch, climb up the stairs. Once they make it, and Dr Heiter has caught up with them Katsuro decides that right now would be the perfect time to commit suicide because he's been a "bad person." (nice timing, when you know you might be close to being saved, you also could've done this earlier. Like jumping in that damn indoor pool or something.) Jenny (the tail end) is suffering from an infection and kicks the bucket as well, leaving poor Lindsay stuck in the middle. The Policemen (after obtaining the fastest search warrant ever) return and come into the house. Dr Heiter hides, one of the cops actually sees Lindsay. (and doesn't call for backup) Dr. Heiter shoots his partner, he runs to help only to get shot in the arm/chest. He kills Dr. Heiter, and even though he's still moving on his own (he doesn't call for backup/help) and falls right into that damn pool! The movie ends, We don't know if back up ever came, we don't know if Lindsay was saved, I also don't know how there is going to be a sequel if Dr. Heiter got shot in the head. (Although they could go the Saw route and have a flashback or an apprentice)

That was long, wasn't it?  I should point out that the dialogue in this movie is ridiculous, and is even more prominent because of the subtitles. "Oh shit! I have to shit!" touching. The editing is absolutely terrible, The shots don't fade away, they abruptly cut into each other. The photo of the "sweet 3 dog" looks like it was made on Microsoft Paint. The acting is atrocious, None of the girls' conversations seemed natural, the screaming was over the top, the only bit that felt real to me was them holding each other's hands when they woke up as the Centipede. As I pointed out before, they sound the same throughout the entire film, so when something more grotesque is implied, it doesn't make it more effective. Most of the gore is off screen and left up to your imagination, but when the actors don't really help you out, what's left to imagine?

It's not even campy horror fun, it's just bad. It's also disappointing because it seemed like such a fresh idea. I really hope this isn't the only film on these actor's credentials.

Recommended: No

Grade: F

Memorable Quote: "What is this!?" - Everyone in the film asks this more than once. I asked myself too.

3 comments:

  1. I haven't seen it and never will! Not only your review but many others prove that ny choice is reasonable. And I really can't understand why would they make two more sequels!

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  2. For what it's worth I couldn't disagree more!
    This (beautifully shot and atmospheric- the scenes are fantastically lit and composed) horror movie uses the genre to give us so much more than is expected from the "torture porn" that we're being fed as horror these days.
    Dieter Laser's performance is fantastic.
    You're review so misses the point in so many ways. You need to watch a lot more horror to truly appreciate it I think.
    The fact one of the characters (however badly acted- I suspect the casting of the girls was difficult for obvious reasons!!)doesn't want to get out of the car and walk because of heels and shorts is much more realistic than the fact that the wood is creepy. She doesn't know she's in a horror movie. Geddit?
    In horror movies there is always- and has been since they were first made-sequences of "oh no why are they doing that???" It's all part of the fun.
    Also the subtitles are misleading. When the detective reports the screaming as American he actually says a woman with an american accent was heard screaming. If you remember she screams words a lot.
    The kneecaps aren't broken....the tendons are cut to prevent standing.
    I could go on but what's the point. I know we'll have to agree to disagree here.
    If anyone has read your review to decide whether to see it, I'd say give it a go.
    It's squirm inducing atmospheric horror along the lines of early Cronenberg- think Squirm or Rabid. And worth watching for Dieter Laser's performance. Frankenstein for the 21st century.

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  3. I agree that it was poorly (very) written. I myself would've loved to have seen what Cronenber could've done with this idea. I've read a number of reviews on this film and I gotta say that this one made me laugh. Thanks!

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