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The Human Centipede (2009)
DVD Released: 10/5/2010
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/14/2010
Controversial movies? Don't get me started. Every few years, a movie comes along which generates a great deal of buzz as word shoots around the movie grapevine that it's the most shocking and controversial movie ever made. We often hear of how these movies are banned in certain places or how people got sick watching them. Sometimes there's even word of protesting. However, in my experience, these movies never live up to the hype. In fact, I'm often left to wonder what all of the fuss was about. The Human Centipede is the latest example of this trend.
I(If you don't know the central idea to this movie, and want to be surprised by it, read on with caution.) As The Human Centipede opens, we are introduced to Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie), two young American tourists who are visiting Germany (presumably on a tour of Europe). While looking for a nightclub, they get lost on a backroad and then get a flat tire. They walk through the woods and find a house, which belongs to the odd Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser). Heiter lets them in and then pretends to call for roadside assistance. Instead, he's give both girls rohypnol. When they awaken, they find themselves strapped to hospital beds. Heiter does a presentation in which he explains that he's Germany foremost expert on separating conjoined twins. However, he now wants to see if he can reverse that process and connect two or more people. His goal is to create a multi-person organism which lives as one -- the human centipede. Is there any way that the girls (and Hieter's other prisoners) can escape from this nightmare.
I don't know where to even begin with this movie. OK, let's start with the most obvious question: Is it the most disturbing movie ever made? No, but by a longshot. Granted, the central idea is very sick and twisted and one would have to wonder what exactly is wrong with Director Tom Six that he came up with such a concept. There's no denying that the core part of the script is indeed original and unique, but that doesn't mean that it's interesting. Once you get past that notion, there's nothing particular gross or shocking about the movie. There's very little gore and just a brief flash of very non-sexual nudity. Obviously, the movie is sadistic and mean-spirited, but this simply wears thin after a while.
No, the shocking thing about The Human Centipede is just how bad and poorly made this movie is. I was surprised to learn that this wasn't Tom Six's first feature film, as it certainly has that kind of feel. (Did anyone else think that everyone involved with this movie used a pseudonym? Tom Six? Dieter Laser? Patrick Savage? These sound like the members of a bad metal band.) Six has no concept of pacing whatsoever, and he's done a terrible job constructing the story. For example, Hieter spends several minutes explaining the procedure to his prisoners (He uses an overhead projector? Really? No PowerPoint in Germany?), and we then get a montage of the surgical procedure. The movie would have worked much better (if at all) if we had seen the surgery with no knowledge of what was happening. We would have wondered, "What is he doing?" Then, when the explanation came, it would have been shocking. Six thinks that by telling us, he's building suspense, but he's not. The whole surgery thing only occupies a few minutes of the movie. Otherwise, we are treated to stereotypical scenes such as the one where one of the prisoners escapes and tries to get out of the house, or the inevitable "someone's at the door, will they look in the basement and discover the truth?" scene. The movie is incredibly slow and scenes such as the one where Hieter wants his creation to fetch the paper are simply mind-boggling. There's no character development and the acting leaves much to be desired.
Is it "100% Medically Accurate" as the box claims? I don't know about that, but I do know that it's 100% stupid. (The box also has a quote from Eli Roth who states that he "honestly got sick". He's even more of a pussy than I'd ever imagined.) I didn't go into The Human Centipede expecting to see a good movie. I'll admit it, just like a lot of people, I signed up for this hoping to be shocked. And shocked I was -- shocked at how bad this movie is. The investors should have demanded their money back and if it weren't for the shock factor, this would have never seen the light of day. But, people have been talking about it and that's going to make the curious want to check it out. Still, the damage has been done and a sequel is already in the works. Do yourself a favor, go play Centipede instead. (To this day, that dancing spider is a nuisance.)
The Human Centipede makes you wonder they even bothered with the one character who doesn't speak English on DVD courtesy of IFC Films. The movie has been letterboxed at 178:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is fairly sharp and clear, showing no grain and defects from the source material. The picture is slightly dark, giving the movie a cheap look. There is some slight artifacting at times. The colors look OK, and for much of the movie, the backgrounds are white, but we don't get the sort of defects which we would expect with this. The DVD carries a Dolby 2.0 Surround track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The track isn't very lively, as it doesn't feature very much in the way of stereo and surround effects. The dialogue is always clear and the music doesn't overpower the other sounds.
The Human Centipede DVD contains a few extras. We being with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Tom Six. The DVD contains one DELETED SCENE which runs about 1 minute and is truly pointless. "Behind the Scenes" (9 minutes) is simply fly-on-the-wall video from the set as we watch the cast and crew in action. The scattershot footage stops occasionally to show how certain scenes were shot. "Director Interview" (5 minutes) allows Six to comments on the origin of the film and specific facets of the story. "Casting Tapes" (2 minutes) shows Williams and Yennie auditioning. "Foley Session" (5 minutes) takes us into the sound studio to see some sound effects being created. The extras are rounded out by a still gallery of "Alternate Posters" for the film and the film's TRAILER.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2010.