If this was just the first sequence, I’m honestly not sure I want to see what comes next. It’s not going to be easy to top this. I’m really not even sure how to write a review for The Human Centipede (First Sequence), because it’s clear that this movie wasn’t made for any purpose other than to shock and disgust audiences. Whereas the bizarre Antichrist at least attempted to convey some sort of message via graphic symbolism, The Human Centipede is essentially an hour and a half of snuff. That isn’t to say, however, that it’s not effective snuff. In fact, as I type this just an hour or so after watching the movie, my fiance is still sick to her stomach. I definitely owe her one for seeing this with me. Keep reading for the full review and there will be spoilers ahead – though it’s not like you can’t get the gist of the film from its title.
The Human Centipede isn’t the most disturbing thing I’ve ever seen. Thanks to the Internet, almost everyone’s seen 2 Girls 1 Cup (not putting a hyperlink in there) or some sort of excrement feast or self-mutilation or whatever. I will say, though, that it may be the most horrible thing I’ve seen in an actual move since Divine eating dog shit in Pink Flamingos, and that’s really saying a lot. It’s torture porn of the worst and admittedly most creative kind; I guess you could say that The Human Centipede is basically Hostel on steroids.
The movie starts like so many horror movies do, with two not-so-bright American girls named Lindsay and Jenny touring a foreign country – in this case, it’s Germany – and looking for something fun to do. They set out for a club called Bunker but (of course) find themselves lost on a road in the middle of nowhere. The girls get a flat tire (of course) and soon discover that they can’t get a signal for the cell phone (of course). Lindsay gets the brilliant idea to start walking through the surrounding woods to look for help while Jenny insists on staying behind. Lindsay notices a light up ahead, which prompts Jenny to follow. The girls come upon a house and knock on the door looking for help.
The house belongs to Dr. Heiter, a guy so creepy that right when he answered the door, I would have taken my chances outside in the rain. I mean, if anyone ever dreamed of attaching three human beings by the mouth and anus, it would be this guy. No, nobody would suspect that, but it had to have crossed these girls’ minds that he was going to at the very least drug and fondle them. In fairness, The Human Centipede wasn’t made the examine the decisions of tourists in distress. Anyway, the girls are drugged, but instead of being fondled, they’re strapped onto hospital beds and wake up in a room with IV feeds and a third captured individual. That’s when the fun really starts.
As you can tell from the film’s title as well as the picture I posted at the top of this review, the girls end up attached to one another and a third captive, a Japanese man because the original third captive wasn’t a proper “match.” The three are attached in a line, from anus to mouth, and because Lindsay had the audacity to try and escape and thus inconvenience Dr. Heiter, she’s the one in the middle. Amazingly, the creation of Heiter’s human centipede – of which he is very, very proud – isn’t the climax of the film. Rather, it’s around the halfway point and the rest of the movie involved Heiter’s attempts to “train” his creation and his creation’s attempts to escape. Unfortunately, when only one of the three people who make up the centipede can speak (for obvious reasons) and movement requires synchronized crawling, escaping isn’t very realistic.
The Human Centipede spares audiences most of the procedure itself. The horror and disgust that comes from watching this movie isn’t really due to any graphic representation on screen. Instead, it’s the psychological reaction that an audience will have from imagining themselves as part of the human centipede itself. It’s certainly a fate worse than death, and part of me wondered why the group’s escape attempts weren’t attempts at suicide. Without giving too much away, the film ends on a particularly horrific note, and it’s this scenario that will likely replay in the minds of audiences well after they’ve seen this movie. I know that given the choice, I’d choose death without hesitation.
I’m not sure what else to say about The Human Centipede. It’s creative and original and certainly succeeds in what it sets out to do, but at the end of the day, is it really a good film? It reminds me a bit of when the boys of South Park wrote The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs – sure, it’s novel, but other than a massive gross-out, what’s the point? It’s not the type of movie I’d want to see again and even though the premise is pretty disgusting, it’s not something I’m going to lose sleep over. I can’t yet say the same for my fiance, so take that for what it’s worth. Recommended for only the morbidly curious.
3 out of 5 stars