Thursday, December 30, 2010

Movie Review: The Human Centipede

The Human Centipede no stars
Directed by:
Tom Six.
Written By: Tom Six.
Starring: Dieter Laser (Dr. Heiter), Ashley C. Williams (Lindsay), Ashlynn Yennie (Jenny), Akihiro Kitamura (Katsuro), Andreas Leupold (Det. Kranz), Peter Blankenstein (Det. Voller), Bernd Kostrau (Dirty Man in Car), Rene de Wit (Truck Driver).

The Human Centipede is a movie without a point. I think writer/director Tom Six simply came up with his horribly disgusting central premise, and then decided to build a movie around it - thinking that what he was doing was so shocking, that people would see the movie no matter what the rest of the film was like. In a sense, he was half right. There are few people out there who haven’t heard of The Human Centipede - and yet very few people actually bothered to watch the film. I myself put if off for months, before finally breaking down and seeing the film in my effort to see as many of the noteworthy films of 2010. I wish I had followed my initial instinct and skipped it.

Dieter Laser stars as Dr. Heiter, a psychopathic retired surgeon who specialized in separating Siamese twins in his career. Now, he wants to do just the opposite - and attach people instead of separating them. He already tried the experiment with his three dogs, and even though they died, he has decided that was enough of a success that he wants to try it with human beings. Essentially what does is attach them ass to mouth - the head - a Japanese man gets to eat, and then he shits in the mouth of the middle piece, who hen shits into the mouth to the third person. I will spare you the details of how he does it - but for what I understand, it is actually possible to do what he does. Why one would want to is left unanswered - although Dr. Heiter is clearly a violent psychopath, so reasoning is not at the top of list of things to think about.

Yes, the film is disgusting. No one needs to see the image of these three poor people attached to each other, crawling around on the floor like dogs and shitting into each other mouths. Yet, what is most shocking about The Human Centipede is how dull and boring it is. The first half of the movie is essentially a knock off of Eli Roth’s deplorable Hostel films, which in themselves were just Texas Chainsaw Massacre knock offs set in Europe instead of the backwoods of Texas. Two beautiful American girls - Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) are traveling in Germany, and try to find their ways to some club, when they get a flat tire. Lost in the middle of nowhere, it is there bad luck that they simply stumble upon Dr. Heiter’s house. He drugs them, and when they wake up, he explains what is plan is. After an aborted attempt to escape by one of the women (and I have no idea which one, because I didn’t care enough to check, as both of the actresses were not very good). The second half of the film is essentially Heitet tormenting his new creation, until the police show up, and everyone dies.

The film is dull and predictable. The only twist it offers is that instead of murdering his victims, he attaches them as described above. Yet, that “novelty” is essentially used simply to try and shock the audience. I suppose on that level, this is the film that Tom Six intended to make. And it should be noted that Dieter Laser is actually quite good in the lead role. If a crazy German doctor ever really wanted to do what Heiter does in this film, I kind of suspect that they would act like Laser does in this film, How he made it through his whole life without the psychopathology ever surfacing to those around him isn’t explained - that would of course take away from the shock value.

Yet, The Human Centipede is a movie without a point. I do not object per se to the movie on a moral ground - I have seen many, many more violent movies than this film - ones that take violence to another level than what we normally seen in a film. Yet, I do think that if you are going to make a movie like this, and subject the audience to this level of violence. Yet I do think that if you are subject an audience to this sort of material, you should have some sort of point in mind. And that is where Tom Six fails miserably. His point seems to be to simply show us these images, that for whatever reason, he simply wanted to film these images. And that makes The Human Centipede even worse. You don’t make a film like this if you don’t have a point. That’s probably why even people who like violent horror films have pretty much ignored The Human Centipede - and why I should have as well.

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