June 28, 2010

The Human Centipede (2009)

AKA The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

I'm pretty sure that the infamy of what occurs in this film has eclipsed any chance I have of writing a fair review, but I'll give it a go anyway.

In case you didn't know, "The Human Centipede" is yet another in a long line of "torture porn" atrocities which, on a purely personal level, I think are absolutely fantastic! What happens this time? If you didn't click straight on the trailer above, here's the synopsis from the IMDb:

In Germany, two American women and a Japanese man fall victim to a demented surgeon who plans to recreate a horrific operation with humans that he performed on his three beloved dogs: reverse-engineering Siamese triplets by attaching their digestive systems.

So can you figure it out yet? How would you attach three human beings together? Obvious, isn't it? ASS to MOUTH! Yes, that's the bloody deal here. It's a bit of a one joke act, but that's the be all and end all of "The Human Centipede".

For those of you expecting a real gore fest, you are going to be sadly disappointed. Most of the horrific operation stuff occurs off screen presumably due to budgetary constraints. I suppose that accidentally makes this very "old school" in that what you imagine is actually worse than what you will see. But, rest assured, you do get to see the centipede in all its glory for the next two-thirds of the film.

The real horror of it all is from empathising with the two girls and man who have been sewn together. The only problem is that the man is Japanese (and doesn't speak a word of English) and the girls were both a pair of annoying airheads who nobody would feel sorry for anyway.

It's not as if there really could have been any better characterisation because these girls are pretty much in "Hostel" territory, out for a good time and not using any common sense. How the Japanese guy was captured is anyone's guess, but it undoubtedly involved a tranquilizer gun. He does have a backstory which comes into tragic effect later, but he isn't a very sympathetic character either.

None of the victims do anything particularly wrong to get themselves captured by the mad doctor (played admirably by Dieter Laser). He's a first class psycho who has it all worked out. What he wants, he gets, and they really didn't stand a chance. Again this is a recurring theme in the "torture" genre. Bad things just do (and will) happen to good people. Is that scary or just life? I'll leave that for you to decide.

Seeing the human centipede being trained like a dog, and the obvious nastiness of how it eats, is nothing compared to something like "Salo". But, yes, the predicament of the three people is horrible and you wouldn't want to be the middle one! Again, it's all down to how much you could think yourself into their place and what you would do that makes this horror either work or fail.

You'll just have to watch this yourself to see what I mean. It's the kind of film that makes you question a lot of what you've seen after it ends, and that's always a very good thing. Whether or not it scares you or just makes you feel a bit ill is another matter.

Technically everything is really good. It doesn't look "low-budget", the camerawork is professional/steady, the sound is clear, and the effects are nicely done but underused. The acting is actually pretty good too.

There's due to be a bigger budget remake next year so who knows what other horrors the director, Tom Six, will have for us. I think you'll like "The Human Centipede" when you get chance to see it, mainly because it's something a little bit different. I liked it anyway.

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