Dir. Tom Six
Starring Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura
The Human Centipede contains one of the most disgustingly twisted premises there has ever been for a horror film. And the director doesn't shy away from actually going forward with the worst of what you'd expect. Yet what's surprising about the film is that it's completely boring for most of the running time. A bizarre idea does not make up for what turns out to be some really pedestrian direction and a repetitive plot.
Two young American tourists (portrayed as incredibly stupid and snotty women) in Germany are stuck when their car blows a tire. In the middle of the night, they make their way through to a remote house in the woods. They meet a mysterious man (Dieter Laser) and ask him for help, which obviously isn't going to happen. He actually happens to be a doctor who is an expert on separating Siamese twins. He also happens to be completely demented and is for some reason fascinated with the idea of joining humans together and the girls have unwittingly become his new test subjects.
This is first (and almost certainly last) experience with the horror genre called torture porn. It's a style that ignores the idea of scaring the audience and instead focuses on shocking or disgusting them. I'm told that this is actually one of the tamer examples of the genre and the filmmaker has admitted that he held back so he could be even more disgusting in the sequel. But the real problem with the idea here isn't that it's disgusting, but that we are treated to almost 90 minutes of listening to characters moan or scream over and over again. This certainly gets annoying very quickly.
The only real attempt at being scary is a generic escape scene early in the film. It happens to be one of the worst examples of the "she has a chance to escape, but does something stupid" sequences that pop up in most horror films. I guess the twist here is that the villain is equally stupid in the same scene, allowing the director to prolong one of his few suspense set pieces. You'd think the same person that was able to come up with the twisted idea for the film could create something more original.
The rest of the film is littered with similarly inept direction. Whenever the director gets stuck, he finds the cheapest way to complete the scene. For example, there's a moment where a police officer runs into a room and does not notice someone else is there. However, the scene is staged and edited so poorly that the angles clearly show that the officer would have seen the person. Another ridiculous moment comes when Six uses subtitles to translate a sign in the doctor's yard, apparently thinking horror fans are too stupid to remember something that had already been translated 30 minutes earlier.
Late in the film, there is an attempt at some psychological exploration of the characters, but it is not convincing at all. There is absolutely no build up to this and in the end it seems more like a convenient path to the ending the director wanted. The Human Centipede is getting alot of attention right now and the initial idea will certainly continue to pique interest, but those viewers who make the unfortunate decision (like yours truly) to see this will find it is an incredibly lame horror film. Tom Six has taken an absolutely insane horror premise and found the most generic possible way to make a movie about it.