The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

Director: Tom Six

Notable Cast: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura

Rating: UR

Review:  I believe that every film is made for a reason.  Some are made for an artistic purpose, as a thing of marvel and beauty.  Some are made to make us laugh and that’s it, putting little effort into an actual story such as MacGruber.  Some are made to scare us, like a really good horror movie.  Others are made to work our minds and keep us guessing, like Nolan’s Memento.  But the thing all these movies have in common is that they are all made to entertain.  In their own way, there is some level of enjoyment in all these films.  It’s not very often a movie comes along that makes you question its reasoning.  But then I watched The Human Centipede [First Sequence].  It wasn’t scary.  It wasn’t fun.  It wasn’t comical.  It just…was.  And after I watched it, I actually had to ask myself what I had just watched.  I actually felt uneasy about what just happened.  It was two steps away from being torture porn and makes me wonder where an idea like this comes from.  And how.  This is not a movie you watch for any type of entertainment purpose, but is more like an experience.  And whether it is a positive experience is based on you as a person, but even for a horror nerd like me this movie was about three steps too far.

Hold onto your butts people.  The movie starts out like any other horror movie, consisting of two young American women traveling through Europe by themselves.  One night in Germany, a waiter invites them to a party at a nightclub.  Lindsay (Williams) and Jenny (Yennie) get in their car and take to the backwoods of Germany in search of the nightclub, only to get a flat tire while lost of course.  Upon looking for some sign of life, they stumble upon a gorgeous house in the middle of nowhere and are invited in by the owner, Dr. Heiter (Laser).  Heiter reveals he is a famous German surgeon and offers to call the car company for the two girls.   He seems like a nice enough man, until he drugs their drinks and straps them down to hospital beds in his basement.  When they awake, Dr. Heiter reveals the latest procedure he wants to try called “The Human Centipede.”  It involves taking three victims and attaching them anus to mouth, connecting them into one moving being while they are all still conscious.  And why?  No real reason, he’s just a sick freak obsessed with surgically sewing people together.  That my friends, is the entire plot of the film.

Om Nom Nom Nom Nom….

Right on the poster it boasts “100% medical accuracy.”  That means the director actually went out and did research on this procedure to make sure it could be done.  Is anyone else sickened and disturbed by this?  If the movie was supposed to be crazy and funny, it would be totally different.  It would be something to laugh at.  But no.  This was supposed to be as realistic as possible, and scares me that someone could actually think this up.  And my biggest problem was halfway through the movie Dr. Heiter had created the centipede!  I looked at the running time of the movie and realized I had about 45 more minutes of watching this crazy doctor “train” and torture these people as he made them do things like walk around and eat.  I understand it was supposed to be a horror, but it struck no fear at all.  It was completely disturbing and unsettling. And not in a scary way.  I sat there in disbelief while watching the second half, not even being able to express what I was thinking.  And there wasn’t even that much gore.  I’ve seen all that before.  In Feast, there was enough puss, blood, guts, and monster splooge to fill about three Olympic sized swimming pools.  In Land of the Dead, I watched as zombies tore people limb from limb and munched on them like you or I would a turkey leg.  I’ve seen things in movies that have almost made me sick to my stomach.  But none of that created as much disgust in me as watching this doctor whip “the centipede” and abuse it mercilessly.  It was all…unnecessary.

This is also a movie that many hallow for its originality.  People say a movie like this has never been done before.  And my response to that is it was never done before FOR A GOOD REASON!  Sure, the procedure sounds insane and even a little interesting the first time the doctor is explaining it, but after the initial shock and awe, it loses all effect.  There is just way too much screen time for the doctor’s creation to keep the idea fresh and I seriously got sick of seeing it after only about 5 minutes.  Also, besides the procedure there was absolutely nothing original about this movie.  Two Americans in another country walk into a creepy house in the middle of nowhere with no way of outside communication.  How many times have we seen that?  Maybe Hostel just to name one?  And the whole flat tire plot device that put them in that situation?  That’s original?  And don’t even get me started on the ending.  It’s been done WAY too many times for me to even be satisfied with.  Please, you’re going to have to try a lot harder to convince me that The Human Centipede brought anything remotely original to the horror genre.

But I have to say there was one positive aspect that came out of the movie.  Dieter Laser.  I don’t know if it’s a compliment but he was born to play the role of the insane doctor.  He was perfect.  From his unsettling physical appearance to his psychotic personality, he brought some serious life into the character of Dr. Heiter.  I’m not going to say I was afraid of his character, but he delivered such an amazing emotional performance that it should not go unnoticed.  I can say I’m 100% positive I would have turned the movie off about halfway through if it wasn’t so intrigued by Laser’s character.  The shame of it was that the movie did nothing to explain his character though.  It never said why he was so obsessed with the procedure or why in god’s name he was doing what he did.  I know the whole point of the movie was to leave it open-ended, but even a little closure would have made the movie more tolerable instead of leaving me with a billion different questions about a movie I don’t even want to continue thinking about.

The Human Centipede isn’t as much a film as it is a barrage of troubling visuals that will probably sicken most people.  At no point did I really think watching this movie was a great idea.  Some horror movies you can laugh at because of their over the top ridiculousness.  Some horror movies actually strike fear into you and scare you to no end.  The Human Centipede did neither and left me with an appalling after taste I just couldn’t shake.  If that’s what the director was trying to accomplish, then it worked.  But even a good horror movie I can get some kind of enjoyment out of.  I have nothing but feelings of disgust of the atrocity that I watched.  I can’t even classify this movie as a horror film because it was just disturbing.  For some reason, horror now is related to nothing but how much gore can you show and how disturbing you can make your film.  There is a loss on the actual being scared concept, which makes me think an entirely new genre should be created for these types of movies.  The movie lacked any real originality and tried to boast being as realistic as possible, making it even more messed up that somebody took the time to actually construct this ridiculous procedure.  The only saving grace this film had was the acting done by Dieter Laser as resident psychopath Dr. Heiter.  He embodied his role so well that if I ever met him in public, that role is the only thing I would be able to think about.  And I also wouldn’t accept any water from him for sure.  But in the end, all you have is a movie that will do whatever it takes to shock and awe you.  And it does.  Negatively.  So much so that I seriously wish I could un-watch everything I saw and go back to a time before I could even fathom seeing three people sewn together…anus to mouth.  But don’t worry people, Six is already working on the sequel to this film in which he says he has so many more unexplored ideas with “the human centipede” and how The First Sequence was nothing more than an introduction movie to get you used to the idea.  And the worst part is, I’ll probably watch that garbage too.

Final Rating: 3.5 times I should have turned this film off out of 10

I really don’t have to say anything else to say…



About Matt Donato

I love all things film. I'll watch any genre, any actor, at any time. This whole film critic thing is a passionate hobby for now which I'm balancing with working in the business world, but hey, someday, who knows?
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3 Responses to The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

  1. Pingback: 2010: Recap of the Good, the Bad, and Everything Else | Cinema Scrutiny

  2. Pingback: Human Centipede II: Full Sequence | Cinema Scrutiny

  3. Pingback: Worst of 2011 Horror | Cinema Scrutiny

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