THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Ashley C. Williams
What's it about
A couple of stupid American party girls in Germany decide to take a trip through the woods to get to nightclub. Naturally, their car breaks down and they've got to wander through the darkness in search of help. Naturally, they find a German man who seems a bit sinister who decides to help out. Naturally, he's not really helping them. Naturally, he's turning them into a human pet of grotesque proportions. Ok, so maybe that last part wasn't so natural.
Is it good movie?
Wow and holy hell. It isn't very often that I'm watching a flick that really disturbs me to the core. It might happen every couple of years where I watch a horror movie that is actually horrific, something that truly makes me wince and become so thankful that I'm not in that situation. Martyrs was one, and Inside was one as well.
Although I don't think that The Human Centipede will rank up there as a horror movie I think everyone should see, anyone who wants to be pretty disgusted and think about a fate worse than death should definitely be checking this out. Spanning across all kinds of cultures, this one picks up steam pretty quickly and doesn't let up.
The performance of Dieter Laser as Dr. Heiter is the one that anchors the film. All we know about him is that he's a master surgeon and he is skilled at separating siamese twins. That, and he really hates people. He comes right out and says it as soon as the women meet him. The man truly comes off as an insane person and his performance is absolutely believable and truly disturbing. He's cold, calculating and knows exactly what he wants. You don't find yourself rooting for him, but you do understand where's he's coming from and that can be a tough line for a film to walk. The two girls and the Asian dude who are caught up in everything do a pretty good job too, but they spend most of the film in horrible, horrible (and usually muted) agony.
This is a film that will truly reach into your guts and tie them in knots. The whole premise works due to the fact that you are in constant fear from the outset- what is the Human Centipede? It sounds like the most disgusting creation you could imagine and when you find out early on just what it is, your heart will sink. Every good villain believes that what they're doing is right, and Dr. Heiter is simply trying to create a pet- so what if it involves ruining a few human lives; the man hates human beings.
I'm going to put a minor SPOILER ALERT here, so if you're at all worried, click away now.
The most horrific thing about this film is that the doctor succeeds in his mission and all three captives become a part of his hideous creation. This is what got me- a lot of horror movies are just body counts, where stupid people get killed and you don't have to worry about it anymore. This film is quite different; I found myself constantly empathizing with the victims in this movie because they're kept alive in one of the most torturous ways ever committed to film. The entire movie is peppered with muffled screams and cries of agony from the victims who have no choice but to work together in horrible pain just to exist.
It was impossible to not be chatting aloud with fellow film-watchers, almost getting into arguments about what you would do in that situation. The saddest thing about it is that the agreed upon thing is that you'd want to die, and how to do it quickly. This is everyone's worst nightmare- being captured and experimented on by a madman who knows how to do things with surgical precision.
I was disappointed by the way this film ended (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT). I'm all for bleak endings for the average horror film but I really wanted to see some measure of revenge take place and although there is a bit of pathos, it wasn't enough for my taste.
Video / Audio
This movie kicked my ass and was tough to watch in places due to its graphic and horrific nature. I recommend it to those who are brave and can withstand a lot of graphic torture and horrific mental agony. If you're an empathetic person, this will probably affect you more. I felt at times that the film would be building towards an ending that might leave some more satisfied, but to each their own. If you want to get a reaction from people, throw this one on.