THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE II (FULL SEQUENCE) (2011)
(Written and Directed by Tom Six)
Plot: Martin (Laurence M. Harvey) is a disturbed little man who was molested by his Father, abused by his Mother and is treated like crap by everyone who encounters him. The only thing that makes him happy is watching the infamous “The Human Centipede” movie, which he has become obsessed with. He eventually decides to make his own ‘human centipede’, so spends the bulk of the movie abducting potential victims. If you need to know what a human centipede is, it’s when you sow a persons mouth to someone else s anus. You remove their knee caps, so they are forced to crawl and the idea is that they all must share the same digestive system. Do any of his victims stand a chance?
When I reviewed “The Human Centipede”, I declared that it had an unusable concept. Once the human centipede is created, there isn’t a whole lot you can do with it. The mutilated characters have very limited mobility so it’s hard for them to run away or fight back. So it’s probably best not to create one early in the movie. The only other option is to make the operation the pay-off, completing it at the end. But then the rest of the movie will probably be a conventional chase film, people will get annoyed that there wasn’t enough of the human centipede and the ending would be too predictable. The idea, while creative, doesn’t gel well with film narrative. But writer/director Tom Six somehow made it work. It was never electrifying, but it didn’t flounder like I thought it would either. It was a nice little experiment and I indicated that he should’ve ended it there. A sequel could only become redundant because beyond expanding the centipede, there’s nothing more you can do with it. You’d think that I would learn not to use those words against Tom Six.
Before I elaborate, you should know something. I hated “The Human Centipede 2”. I hated it a lot. But I also have a grudging respect for it. Tom Six goes all out in creating a movie that is nothing like the original, besides using the same gimmick. For one, whereas its predecessor left a lot to the imagination, this film is about as graphic as it could be. Let me give you some examples. When characters were forced to defecate in the mouths of the people sewed to their rears in the first film, the director primarily relied on the actors reactions. Here, you see excrement shooting out all over the place, sometimes even hitting the camera. With this sequel, they show all of the gore in explicit detail. You see the skin being removed from their asses and faces. You see people having their teeth knocked out and their knee caps removed. Martin masturbates with sand paper and rapes a woman with barb wire wrapped around his penis. As a testament to how gross this is, you even see his penis. I will give it credit for having some spectacular gore effects here. Most of this looks stunningly realistic, which adds to the revulsion factor. I have to admit that sometimes I wondered if I would vomit, but this ultimately does backfire in the end.
Six is also intent on creating a totally different kind of aesthetic. Instead of taking place in a laboratory, the movie spends the bulk of its running time in some sort of crusty warehouse. The previous villain was a surgeon who operated on his patients with the proper tools. This guy uses kitchen appliances and a stapler. Of course, the biggest difference between the two is that “The Human Centipede 2” is in black and white. Six claims this made it scarier, although I suspect he did it in an attempt to disguise some of the nastier moments. Personally, with all that blood and bile laying around, I’d think that the movie would be more effective in color. But who knows. Maybe the effects wouldn’t have looked so good if they did that. Finally, the tone seems to represent one of my issues with the premise in general. I dare you to describe these movies to someone and study their reactions. Half of the time, people cringe in disgust. But the rest will snicker in amusement. It’s both disturbing and silly at once and can derail your enjoyment of the first film if you can’t take it seriously. “The Human Centipede 2” tries to balance this. Generally it’s unapologetically unsettling. But every once in awhile, the movie will suddenly seem comical. The characters are so cartoonish that you start to wonder if this is a “Natural Born Killers” style satire. Or the dialogue itself would be so utterly retarded that the movie becomes unintentionally hilarious. The acting is even worse this time around too. But the worst of it comes from Martin. He’s a creepy little gnome, but whenever he makes farting noises, starts to cry or giggle, all of that edginess surrounding him dissipates. He’s no longer eerie. Six probably was hoping that by playing both sides of the coin, he could broaden his audience. If you think the gimmick is laughable, then you could laugh. If you thought it was scary, then you could be scared. The problem is, the film is too twisted to be funny. But it’s too goofy to be scary. The directors ambitions were too much for the movie to handle.
“The Human Centipede 2” also seems to think that it’s intelligent. The ending, as well as some bits of dialogue, suggest some sort of attempt at being thematic. But make no mistake. This is a very dumb movie. First off, Martin is supposed to be some security guard, yet who would hire him? The guy is introverted, overweight and has some serious breathing problems. He kidnaps twelve people (and murders a few more), but we’re supposed to presume that no one reported them missing or if they did, the police were too stupid to trace their steps back to this garage. Oh yeah, no one hears his gun go off. Not a single person notices a baby crying in a car for at least a day either. Shit, I totally forgot about how he even fires the gun in his apartment complex. Nobody heard that? Speaking of which, the bullet wounds almost seem to disappear once they’re abducted. Whoops! Finally, I love how agencies apparently send their clients to just about anyone claiming to be a producer. If there is some sort of ‘deep’ meaning to any of this, it’s undermined by the sloppy writing. Of course, the ending MIGHT rectify this. But it’s one of those endings that attempts to manipulate us. It wants us to THINK that it knew what it was doing all along. It’s the perfect way to justify these holes, but it doesn’t work. Yet the worst of this has yet to come.
Now when you’ve been pillaging the horror genre as long as I have, you get used to crappy scripts. These movies aim more for sleaze, atmosphere or suspense. So I don’t hate this film for that. I’ve also seen many films that are in the league of “The Human Centipede 2” when it comes to being grotesque. But what killed this feature for me is simple: It’s boring. It’s REALLY boring. Yes, the perverse violence is hardcore. Yet revulsion can’t sustain a movie. We need to be emotionally engaged or at the absolute least, the pacing needs to be energetic. Because we don’t know any of Martin’s victims, there’s no real reason to root for them. While Martin has a lot of back-story and motive, he’s still not sympathetic and I’ve already explained why the character is not scary. The first film had Dr. Heiter, who was our anchor in the first film. He was played by Dieter Laser, who had a magnetic presence and could be freaking terrifying. The film relied on him to carry it and that’s the main reason it worked. While Laurence M. Harvey deserves credit for taking on such a daring role, he just couldn’t maintain my interest. Another reason why I was bored is that it’s rather redundant. It seems like the majority of the movie is just the same scene repeated over and over again. How many times do I need to see Martin being (psychologically) abused? How many times do I need to see him take out a disposable victim in the same way? If one momentarily escapes, why should I care? They’re victim fodder and they’re likely to get shot or beaten over the head. That means there’s no suspense! How many times do I need to see Martin watching “The Human Centipede“? Ugh, movies never should rely so much on the footage of their predecessors!
I haven’t had this kind of negative reaction about a movie since Takashi Miike’s “Visitor Q“, which also managed to somehow be both exploitive and sleep inducing. “The Human Centipede 2” is just a self indulgent mess.The bi-polar tone makes it impossible for the movie to be scary or funny. Its ambitions can’t redeem the poorly thought out screen-play and its gaffs will have you screaming at the screen. Because the victims are so interchangeable, that automatically means that the movie will never be intense or suspenseful. If you were wondering, the build-up is minimal and even when they try that, it’s dull because we know how every scene is going to end. Martin has his moments, but once you get used to him, you just wanna give the guy a wedgie. He’s not compelling at all. So even if you argue this film as some sort of demented character understudy, that means nothing when the character bores you. But I still have to admire that Tom Six created a sequel that was true to the original in spirit, but was completely different in execution. I can call this movie many things that wouldn’t be very nice, but I can’t say it wasn’t inspired. Plus, the gore is pretty spectacular. Yet “The Human Centipede 2” is a failed experiment. I was so bored out of my mind that my only consolation was I can finally bring back my 0.5/4 Star rating, which I haven’t issued in years! With that said, ‘boring’ is a subjective term and you might completely disagree with me. So don’t read my review and presume that this is among the worst movies of all time. It’s technically superior to most films that have earned this rating. I just hated it.
Violence: NC-17 worthy! It’s as gruesome as it sounds!
Nudity: There’s a lot more of it, both male and female. It’s never pleasant. There’s also some consensual sex and a rape scene.
Overall: “The Human Centipede 2” isn’t necessarily awful. I just couldn’t stand it. Most of my complaints were personal, so you have to decide yourself if you want to check it out.Rating: 0.5/4