Like most other completely asinine horror movies that have come out in recent years (example: P3, a film which is essentially 80 minutes of a woman trapped in a parking garage with a serial killer), suspension of disbelief will not make The Human Centipede a more enjoyable experience. Riding entirely on an admittedly interesting if totally outrageous concept that, putting it bluntly, falls on its ass right from the get-go, this film is as schlocky as they come.
What’s even more unbelievable than some of the later plot points is the fact that it takes roughly 45 minutes before anything remotely important happens to advance the plot along. This extensive chunk of the movie’s run-time (a scant 90 minutes) is spent going through every single god-awful horror film cliché in the book. Two American girls who are, of course, on vacation in Europe get trapped in their rent-a-car in the middle of an eerie forest when, surprise surprise, it doesn’t want to start. Being the sensible horror movie characters that they are, they choose to exit the vehicle in the pouring rain and seek help. Lots of bitching and moaning about how it’s raining follows.
Things get a bit more interesting from that point on, as they reach the remote home of a creepy German doctor, which they decide to enter and subsequently get drugged and dragged into this Joseph Mengele-esque scheme to join them and a random Japanese man together, mouth-to-ass, to make a human centipede. Yuck.
Come on now, you have to admit this is at least a slightly interesting concept for a horror film, right? Right. If only it was done well. Director Tom Six had so much potential to make an absolutely repulsive horror film — one that pushed a ton of boundaries to become a new European “extreme horror” phenomenon. Alas, this film, while admittedly gross in some parts, is really not all that shocking. There’s a ton of cringe-inducing moments — one involving the centipede’s climb up a flight of stairs — and some shocking (if totally out of place) sequences towards the end of the film, but other than that, the film is pretty sterile and, dare I say it, boring. Much of what occurs is entirely implausible, given the way the centipede moves, forcing what is supposed to be scary out of horror movie territory and into, dare I say it, camp. A sequence involving a scalpel and a throat (nudge-nudge) toward the end is particularly hysterical as it comes out of nowhere and doesn’t bother to try to fit in to the rest of the narrative at all.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), the director is making what he’s dubbed The Human Centipede: Second Sequence, a re-imagining of the first film in an attempt to create the film he originally wanted to create. Whatever this may amount to be, there is no doubt in my mind that it’ll be better than the version that’s about to be released in theaters. Some trimming here, some more gore there, and this might be a new horror classic. For now, though, it’s more of an immobile earthworm than a skittering centipede, if you catch my drift.