Review: The Human Centipede 2
PLOT: A mentally disabled parking garage attendant from England is obsessed with the movie THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE. He watches it at work, creates scrapbooks and even masturbates to it using sandpaper. Not content to just be a film lover, he takes his love of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE to the next level by actually working to link people - this time a whopping 12 victims - together.
REVIEW: How do you review a movie like THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2? It's not really much of a "movie," in the traditional sense. While the first film had a certain amount of tension, the sequel abandons any pretense of plot and simply gives us Martin, our new killer. He's a weird dude, to be sure, and we just follow him along his silent path (our killer doesn't speak a word of dialogue throughout the film) to recreate a human centipede.
There's that old maxim in sports, "Go Hard or Go Home" and director Tom Six, and his character Martin, certainly go hard. But is going the full monty the same as making a movie that works?
If you're looking for a movie with a certain amount of built-in shock value, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 doesn't disappoint. Whereas the original was mostly an exercise in imagination, the sequel leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. On that level, it succeeds wildly. If it's primary goal is to gross out the audience and trump the original, well then Six has succeeded in spades. The film is so over-the-top in its last act that it also works as a hilarious gross-out comedy. But if the goal in filmmaking is to actually make a film, Six wildly misfires. (What's interesting is that a number of characters refer to the original but only as a "film," never as a "movie.")
It's interesting to see Six take the sequel out of the world of the original and into the "real world" where THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE exists as a movie. Martin is a devoted fan of the original and his devotion leads to obsession and ultimately his desire to take THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE even further. You could argue that Six is making a statement about fans - horror fans, specifically - and their desire to want even more from THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE. "If that's what you want, that's what I'm going to give you," Six seems to be saying. But is that really what he intended? Is that giving him too much credit? Or instead of Martin being a surrogate for the audience, is he instead a stand-in for Six; a man who's in love with his own universe that he's created and doomed by an unhealthy desire to top the original?
It's easy to see a movie like this and spend some time wondering about themes and metaphors and some kind of deeper meaning in a film where a guy kidnaps 12 people and attempts to sew them together ass-to-mouth. But that kinda of examination comes, partly, from our desire to not want to believe that this movie, in all its disturbing glory, is just there for our titillation. It must mean something, right? Possibly, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, as the fella says.
The performances, as they were, are solid but Laurence R. Harvey, who stars as Martin, isn't really given much to do besides look odd for the camera and occasionally whimper or moan (he reportedly won his audition by coming in the room and raping a chair). There was something inherently creepy and foreboding about Dieter Laser but Martin, while gross, never really fills the audience with a satisfactory sense of fear that a movie villain should. The rest of the centipede, which includes a fair mix of men and women, do their best with the unenviable task of squirming naked on a concrete floor for the duration.
In the end, THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2, will be what it is. For horror fans who, like Martin, just want more, more, more, the sequel certainly offers it up in bloody, gory and cringe-worthy buckets. But for those who were looking for an actual story behind the shock - some steak with their sizzle, so to speak - they'll be left wanting.