|By Charlie Goodrich||Sunday, 6 Jun 2010|
Human Centipede (First Sequence) could easily be the title of some horrible Sci-fi movie that has a low budget and brings in has-been talent to hopefully lure in an audience. However, this film is something completely different. The plot revolves around a surgeon who wants to use his skills to create one creature using three different people. When I first saw the trailer for this movie I wasn’t all that impressed. It seemed too strange and unrealistic to make any sense. I thought my money could be spent in more productive ways. Luckily, this movie came out while I was living in China which makes it easy to find for the low sum of 6RMB (roughly one US dollar). I had nothing better to do so I purchased this movie with the low hopes of at least ridiculing it from start to finish. My plan started out smoothly enough but by the end of the film I was captivated.
Human Centipede (First Sequence) starts off with two American college girls (Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie) preparing for a night on the town. The town in question is somewhere in Germany because they are on a trip across Europe. As they are driving to a club their car suffers a flat tire which causes the girls to panic. Like I said before, I wanted to initially ridicule this movie because I thought it was going to be bad. I was off to a roaring start thanks to two annoying girls who played their roles accurately. After they argued about what to do and discovered that they get no cell phone reception where they are (like, uhh, this totally sucks. I always get reception- lines like this made me hope they both die quickly), they decide to trek into the forest and locate someone who can aid them. They come across a house occupied by Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser) who offers them sanctuary in his home. Dr. Heiter is a world renowned specialist who separates conjoined twins. His good hospitality is quickly dismissed as he sedates the Americans and locks them in basement with a third occupant. Then Heiter reveals his plan to entwine their bodies together by having them share one digestive track (mouth to anus).
After this revelation, the plot thins out a bit, and the story plods along in a fairly predictable way. While the concept is bizarre and the actual “centipede” is creepy, the highlights of this film are the acting and direction. Laser plays his role perfectly. He is sadistic and twisted like you would imagine, but his facial expressions and mannerisms are extremely powerful. Laser brings Dr. Heiter to life in a truly dark way. The actors who make up the centipede (Kitamura, Yennie, and Williams, in that order) do a wonderful job. Kitamura, as the lead, only speaks Japanese which creates an interesting dynamic because he cannot communicate effectively with Heiter. The two girls use their eyes and what remains of their faces to act. They both do a commendable job working with so little. Director Tom Six used the environment of the house very well. He created a realistic sensation of dread and fear in a small space. He also used a minimal amount of gore. I thought there was going to be a long detailed scene of the operation, but he showed a small portion of it. The process creates such a vivid image in your mind that you don’t need to see everything. Your mind can easily picture what is happening.
I don’t think everyone will enjoy Human Centipede. The plot is slow at some points and you can easily predict what will happen. The idea itself might even turn some people off right from the start. However, even with its flaws I was able to be intrigued with the movie. The characters had to make some interesting decisions that made me wonder what I would do in their situation. Would you return to try and rescue a friend who is incapacitated, or would you try and make your own escape? A lot of people would immediately want to return and help a friend, however, if getting caught means your mouth is fused to an anus and a mouth is fused to yours, would you still want to risk the rescue mission? Upon seeing the results I would definitely take a second to think that question through. Human Centipede (First Sequence) isn’t all bad and deserves a watch if you are into suspense/horror films.