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The Human Centipede II (2011)

IFC Films
Blu-ray Disc Released: 2/14/2012

All Ratings out of
Movie: No Score
Video: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/9/2012

Have you ever wondered who has the most difficult job on a movie? Is it the director? Is it a gaffer? Is it a stuntman? I think the person with the most challenging job has to be the casting director. Why? Think about it. They have to be able to tell people like Laurence R. Harvey that he would be perfect to play the obese, bugged-eye, mentally-challenged in a movie like The Human Centipede II. Could you do that? Could you tell someone that they are the perfect actor to be the superfreak star of the movie? That would be difficult to watch. Speaking of difficult to watch, let's talk about The Human Centipede II.

The Human Centipede II is not exactly a sequel to 2009's The Human Centipede. It takes place in a world like ours, where The Human Centipede was just a movie. Martin (Laurence R. Harvey) is a portly, seemingly mute man who works as a security guard in a parking garage. He's obsessed with The Human Centipede. He watches the movie at work and has a scrapbook dedicated to it. He lives with his mother, a woman who begs to die. One day, Martin snaps and attacks two people in the garage. He takes over a warehouse, after killing the owner, and dumps the two people there. He then collects several more people and leaves them, naked and with their limbs duct-taped, in the warehouse. Once he gets ten people, Martin begins to live out his fantasy and creating his own "human centipede". Can this odd, insane man create the work of a fictional surgeon?

As The Human Centipede had a (somewhat) logical conclusion and a mysteriously ambiguous ending, it would have been a leap to make a direct continuation of that story. So, Writer/Director Tom Six had the creative idea of branching the story off into a totally different direction and making what was fictional now seem real. Not only does Martin watch The Human Centipede, but the actors from the film are mentioned. The is like the gorehound version of Last Action Hero.

And that's where the creativity in this movie comes to a screeching halt. Following the initial set-up, the movie almost literally contains no story. Martin hits people with his crowbar and takes them to the warehouse -- that's about it. There is a subplot -- if you want to use that word -- with Martin attempting to interact with the cast of The Human Centipede. Martin's relationship with his mother is the same thing which we've seen in many, many movies. The last 1/3 of the film deals with Martin attempting to make his centipede. And then the movie has the audacity to have an ambiguous ending -- one which, according to the internet and the audio commentary -- no one can agree on.

So, what's the point of The Human Centipede II? Pure exploitation. Simply put, this movie is garbage. Now, there are those who will accuse me of being pompous and viewing movies like this as being beneath me by calling The Human Centipede II garbage. But, I don't have any problem with either gore or disturbing movies. There are plenty of movies in the genre which I admire. Movies like The Last House on the Left, Cannibal Holocaust and The Woman offer very disturbing themes and images while actually offering some sort of point. The Human Centipede II exists only to watch Martin bludgeon and butcher people. We see him cut people open and staple them, but there's no reason for any of it to be happening. As if this weren't repugnant enough, Six has decided to make his main character morbidly-obese mute who mutilates his own genitals. That sounds entertaining, right?

I know some of you are wondering, is this movie as sick as I've heard/hope it is? The answer to that is probably not. Six's mistake with the first film was that the visuals never really matched the depravity of the plot. Sure, The Human Centipede II contains a sizable amount of gore, but it's all so removed from reality that it has no effect. Movies like The Last House on the Left or The Devil's Rejects are disturbing because there's an element of truth to them -- we feel like they could happen. Six's film is so far-fetched and lacking in story that only the most squeamish viewers won't roll their eyes or simply laugh. Six has shot (or transferred) the movie in black and white. Was this an attempt at credibility or was this supposed to make the movie seem more "arty"? I don't know, but the lack of red blood also make the movie more distant.

Six is already at work on the third film in the series. Why does he hate us? Six came up with a unique premise for the first film, and an interesting take for the sequel, but he's proven twice that he's no storyteller. The Human Centipede II is a weak attempt to cash in on a movie which doesn't deserve its cult following.

The Human Centipede II makes one question the management of parking garages in London on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of IFC Films. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing no overt grain and no defects from the source material. The black and white photography looks good in this transfer. The contrast is good, and the black tones look realistic. There is no bleeding in the grey areas. There's a nice crispness in the image. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.2 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects are nicely done, as there are detailed and illustrate off-screen sounds. The surround effects work nicely as well, especially in the scenes in the warehouse. The power is constantly going out and we can hear the clicking of the lights all around us. Some gunshots and hits offer mild subwoofer effects.

The Human Centipede II Blu-ray Disc contains several extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Writer/Director Tom Six and actor Laurence Harvey. "Interview with Filmmaker Tom Six" (13 minutes) has the director discussing the concept for the film, the casting, why specific scenes were included, and ideas for more sequels. Nice hat. Actress Ashlyn Yennie shows us around in "Set Tour of Warehouse" (9 minutes), which also includes some random behind-the-scenes footage...some of which is disturbing. "Foley Sound Effects" (3 minutes) takes us into the recording studio to see how some of the sounds were made. This is far more disconcerting than the movie itself. "Making the Poster" (2 minutes) takes us into the photo shoot for the one-sheet, which, again, feels more depraved than the movie. The Disc contains one DELETED SCENE which runs about 25 seconds, and simply shows more of Martin being weird. "Promo" (2 minutes) is a trailer-like reel which has Six ruminating on how sick the sequel will be. The extras are rounded out by a TRAILER and a TEASER for the film.

Review Copyright 2012 by Mike Long