Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Human Centipede (2009)

Fear 1/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 3/5

When I first heard about this film, my initial reaction was that it was going to be a lot more about concept and less about the actual story and characters presented onscreen. Sure, the concept itself would be one of the most vile and depraved act(s) that one could ever commit. But as a whole, there wouldn't be much done to reel me in and get me emotionally invested. After finally watching this now notorious film, I can firmly say that my first inklings hold true.

The film centers on a couple of gals on a road trip through Europe. They get into a bit of a pickle when their car breaks down on their way to a party in Germany. Pretty much stuck out in the middle of nowhere, they come upon a secluded house (which serves as a great set piece to the film with its ornateness). Ringing the doorbell, they are greeted quickly by a tall, dark haired and lanky man who immediately displays a judging eye and a stern look. Without hesitation, they enter his home upon invitation and at this point we know it's all downhill from here.

Not really doing much by this point in terms of building suspense or anticipation, the girls immediately succumb to the spiked water they're given. They eventually awaken, finding themselves on operating tables alongside an Asian man. It's on these tables and within the confines of the operating room that our man and 'doctor' reveals his sinister plan. And by now kiddos, I'm sure you all know just what it is.

What ensues after the operation is an hour long, drawn out affair which could have been summed up in about 15 min. The Asian 'head' of the human chain screams in (what I believe) to be Japanese, the girls whimper quite a bit, while one of them is succumbing to effects of the experimentation as her body is obviously shutting down. And what is very surprising, is the fact that none of the onscreen 'horrors' are really as gruesome as initially thought. There were a couple of icky scenes for sure (one most notably on the operating table), but relatively speaking, the film was pretty tame.

Overall, what really detracted from the experience, was having no real back story on the doctor or his victims. These characters were painted in the thinnest of senses and as a result, you really didn't care much for them at all. One could say that the sheer not knowing of the rationale of his experimentations or the reasoning behind them was terrifying enough. But the way the film ends makes it all feel a bit hollow and all for naught.

Maybe more of a backstory will be given with the sequel and more depth to the characters involved. By no means is The Human Centipede a bad film. But for me, it was an incredible letdown.

Cortez the Killer


The Film Connoisseur said...

This is the exact reason why I have not yet seen it! It looks like it simply runs on the idea of the centipede...yeah its gross, yeah its a repulsive idea, but is there a story to go along with it. Any meat with the potatoes? Apparently not. I'll get to this one eventually, but Im not in any rush.

Copyboy said...

I totally agree with your dislikes. If I'm not emotionally connected to the character I'm not vested in the film.

Strange Kid said...

I can't argue that the story itself was a little thin and it's not quite as "extreme" as the hype made it out to be.

It reminds me a lot of the beginning of the Saw franchise to be honest and I can only wonder where Six will take the sequel.

Monster Scholar said...

This is what I've heard so far from most critics. But I still don't know if I want to check it out myself. It is on Netflix instant watch though.

d0m said...

Lesson learned: If you happen upon a creepy man in a secluded home and he snarls "I HATE HUMAN BEINGS" at you, it's probably NOT a good idea to drink anything he hands you.

Just sayin'.

Kevin said...

I actually thought this was pretty good. A lot better than I thought it was going to be anyway. But I went into it with low expectations.

Bill said...

I do agree with it being a letdown, but I do have to give props to Dieter Laser's mad scientist performance. He really made the film for me, and thoroughly creeped me out.

JennyB said...

I liked this movie but it wasn't as bad as everyone said it was. I was expecting some pretty messed up movie but that's not what I got and I was kinda disappointed.

Cortez The Killer said...

@TFC, pretty bare bones indeed and not much meat to the potatoes.

@Copyboy, I feel that it is indeed essential to have that connection (at least for a horror film that attempts to be a 'serious' one).

@Strange Kid, that's an interesting comparison, one I hadn't thought of. But at least there was some depth there and backstory. Let's hope for something better on the 2nd time out.

@Monster Scholar, it's definitely worth a view. Not bad by any means, just kind of 'meh.'

@Dom, indeed. Best to steer clear.

@Kevin, I guess I had high expectations because of the hype and limited release (further adding a bit of 'myth' to it).

@Bill, he was good but I couldn't help but think that someone else could have also easily played that part. But his 'look' also had a lot to do with it, me thinks.

@Jenny, exactly. Call me crazy, but I was hoping it'd push the envelope more.

Theron said...

I haven't seen it and probably won't. It can't possibly match the movie lodged in my head that's based upon the description, which is part Guccione's "Caligua" and part Pasolini's "Salo." I doubt it's either.

Carl Manes said...

For everything that is left out in the backstory, I feel Lasar makes up for in his unnerving performance. He is almost more disturbing than his creation. Almost. I stand by this one, a Horror oddity that cant be ignored!

Elgart said...

This is a nice movie! Totally rare plot!

Shaun said...

I was shocked buy the coworker at DISH who told me this is the goriest movie he has ever seen. If this is the goriest, then he must watch Disney movies all the time. After reading reviews I decided I would put my blockbuster movie pass to use and rent the movie. Might as well get the 10.00 I pay monthly to some use, and I found it streaming so no need to rent. I am glad I didn't have to wait, because I would have been more disappointed. Dieter Laser played the mad scientist perfectly, and I was glad he put the two girls on the back because the screaming was getting out of hand. The movie had a clinical look to it, like blood was bad, and until the end, and the IV ripping out of her arm, you didn't see much. FEED HER! FEED HER! Still rings out in my head. I actually laughed at the movie more then anything, almost like a King-FU movie where you make up the lines for them as they go. I rented the second one, I am waiting for it to show.