Tuesday 5 October 2010


Out now on DVD and Blu-Ray is the 100% medically accurate, The Human Centipede.
Join me after the jump for my full, unflinching review...

Taking its cue from Hostel's 'backpackers beware' scenario, this film starts with two American tourists driving down dark, secluded roads in rural Germany. The two main girls Lyndsay and Jenny (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Jennie) show some gross stupidity in a classically scary situation. When your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, you don't go wandering through the woods to the remote house owned by a creepy surgeon.

Dieter Laser (awesome name by the way) is incredibly creepy as the crazed Dr Heiter; angular and Germanic enough to become an iconic horror character. Basically he's a mad scientist with a particular disregard to the human condition, and a diabolical plan to join peoples gastric systems together to create a human centipede. We see that he has had at least some success before with his beloved 'three-dog', and it's just lucky for him that these two idiot American girls turned up on his doorstep. Once he captures Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura) to complete his grotesque version of 'Pin the Tail on the Donkey', the film takes a decidedly disgusting turn.

If you'll excuse the pun, this is a film that leaves an extremely nasty taste in your mouth. It's not quite torture porn, and doesn't tread the same path of gore as Hostel and the like, but it's a vile idea that provides a lot of the tension. You don't really want to see his masterplan become a reality, but once the idea is explained, you know the doctor is going to have some success in bringing his monstrous creation into being.

The quality of acting is the kind you'd expect to see in a creepy, low budget horror. That's exactly what this film aims to be, but is actually quite low on scares. It does however have a particularly disgusting concept that's caught people's attention. The plan is executed fairly early on, so we're treated to a lot of scenes that just revel in the display of the centipede. Director Tom Six is clearly as proud of his creation as Dr Heiter is.

Although comparisons may be made between this and David Cronenberg's brand of body horror, this just isn't clever enough to warrant them. Yes, it can be proud to state that it's "100% Medically Accurate", but that doesn't make for a good film; just a good case to have Tom Six committed.

It's not scary unless you're planning on going on a backpacking trip around Germany sometime soon, but it's decidedly vile in its display of human misery. Luckily, I don't think I know anyone who'd enjoy this, and it's a challenging and disturbing watch and not one I ever want to see again. I spent the entire running time cringing in disgust. The only merit to this film is that it is a wholly unique idea, but it lacks any tension or shocks to make it a successful horror film.

Because of the curiosity value I'm sure this will find an audience (especially on DVD), but watching The Human Centipede is about as an uncomfortable experience as being in a human centipede. Be prepared to have it remain in your system, and don't say I didn't warn you.


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