The Human Centipede (First Sequence) Review
It is very difficult to review a movie called The Human Centipede (First Sequence). There is little chance one will be lured to a viewing under false pretenses, so if a movie delivers what you expect, is it not then an indisputable success? Yes and no as the film is a struggle between concept, execution and nausea but what is admirable, in addition to its fearless boundary pushing, is its restraint. Yes you read that correctly, restraint. Contrary to so many of the torture porn films that try to punch up the shock value through sadism The Human Centipede has almost no blood and lets your imagination fill in the horrific blanks.
If you know nothing about this movie, allow me to enlighten you. The film revolves around a deranged surgeon who propels the old hallmark of a "mad doctor" to delirious extremes. He kidnaps people and sews them together mouth to anus (yes you also read that correctly). Through that procedure which involves removal of the teeth and stitching together the skin of the forward and rear victim, the gastric system is thereby connected. This combined with slicing ligaments in the knees to prevent erect walking and you got yourself one human centipede.
Likely, your mind is already made up on if you want to see this movie; you are either intrigued or repulsed (likely both). What elevates The Human Centipede from its high concept is the tension, the elements of pitch-black humor, the subtle skewering of horror conventions and finally the performance of the main villain. The good Doctor Heiter is played by German Dieter Laser (or as I like to pronounce in a bad Arnold Schwarzenegger impression, "Deeder Lazer") and he is truly terrifying, icy, ruthless and completely unsympathetic towards his captives. He has no motives behind his motives. His drive to create this abomination stems from the death of his "three-dog," -- I’m sure you can fathom what that entails -- but his desire to attempt anything in this realm to being with is never explored.
The Human Centipede is directed by Tom Six and the man knows how to terrify and disgust in unison. The movie does lose some of its momentum around the three-quarter mark, but bursts back to life at the finale. The final scene is perhaps the most powerful and affecting in the entire movie and stayed with me far after the initial shock had faded. The slogan for this movie reads "100 percent medically accurate" and while I’m unsure of the validity of that statement it really stands as a moot point. Plausible or preposterous, The Human Centipede does its job the best since the original Saw.
Tom Six is already planning a sequel entitled The Human Centipede (Full Sequence). The dark cloud that looms over this project will be the tendency of directors to try an one-up their originals, usually through increased gore, instead of expanding upon the elements that worked such as the tension and the allowed space for the viewers mind to go wild. Necessity of a follow-up aside, this is one of the single most brazen and memorable works of horror in many years; see it if you dare.
The Human Centipede
Directed by Tom Six
Written by Tom Six
Starring: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie