Movie Review - The Human Centipede (**1/2)

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The Human Centipede (First Sequence).  90 mins.  R.  Written and Directed by Tom Six.  Starring Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, and Akihiro Kitamura.
Available in theaters and On Demand
The concept behind The Human Centipede is so sick, so twisted, so outrageous, and so watercooler-worthy that there was no way I could resist seeing it.  In my experience with this movie, there are three kinds of people: (1) those who have never heard of The Human Centipede (lucky you); (2) those who want to see it; and (3) those who get sick at the mere thought of seeing it.  For this last category of people, I can guarantee my review will not sway your opinion.  You pretty much know by now whether you want to see three people placed end-to-end, and surgically connected ass-to-mouth (with one digestive tract) as a form of entertainment.  
I’m not even sure The Human Centipede qualifies as entertainment.  It’s billed as a horror movie, but it’s not really scary.  Creepy and unsettling?  Sure, but not scary.  Writer-director Tom Six shows remarkable restraint at times, and there is a surprising lack of gore and explicit detail.  The movie is certainly gross, but that has more to do with the central idea, and the blanks that your mind fills in, rather than anything on screen.  I would never recommend the movie to anyone (it’s not all that good), but it does sustain a sort of hypnotically tense mood for the first half before devolving into the mundane.  The Human Centipede ultimately works to a degree as a curiosity piece and party trick, but not much more.

Dieter Laser stars as the human-hating, crazy surgeon who obsesses over creating the aforementioned Human Centipede.  After two cliche, underwritten American girls find themselves at his doorstep after their car breaks down, his evil plan is set into motion.  He does end up creating The Human Centipede, but not after a few escape attempts.  This lends some thrills to the movie, but the result is all but inevitable.  After he creates the centipede, he trains it – and it’s at this point that the movie grows mundane and wearisome, as the two girls basically make muffled cries for the remainder of the movie.  There’s some blood and bullets, but nothing too shocking.  If you’ve seen the preview, you’ve basically seen the movie.

Laser is fantastic in the role of Dr. Heiter.  I don’t know if I’d ever want to meet the actor for real – he may be a nice guy and all, but here, he’s evil incarnate in character – somebody you wouldn’t want to get near with a ten-foot pole.  His performance and the creepy, off-kilter vibe of the first half of the movie are enough to make this shock pic worth a look for those who can stomach it.  For those who can’t, this one’s easy to avoid.  And one further note – if you do see it, don’t watch it right before going to bed.  You will have some crazy, f**ked up dreams.  I can vouch for that.  Oh, and if there’s one other lesson to be learned from this movie, it’s this: if you’re going to be turned into a human centipede, you want to be placed first in line. 
P.S. – Six has said in interviews that this is the first in a planned trilogy.  He wants to do a twelve-person centipede in the sequel – “Full Sequence.”  Mr. Six – please stop now.

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