Starring: Do you really care?
* Warning – May contain graphic images and descriptions *
For long time fans of the site, you may recall that one of my first reviews when I joined was The Human Centipede. As a reminder, you can find that review here, but in summary, whilst I could certainly understand the controversy that surrounds the movie, I wasn’t particularly disgusted by it, and actually kinda enjoy it for what it is; a dark satirical horror intended to shock. Now, don’t take that as praise. It’s by no means a great film, and if anything it has that so-bad-it’s-good feel about it.
So when I heard there was a sequel, I was a little intrigued. The first has a fairly original concept, and I wondered how director/writer/psychopath Tim Six would follow that up, given that some of the shock-value will have lost it’s edge second time around.
The Human Centipede 2 follows Martin, a security guard working the night shift in a multistorey car park, as he watches and becomes obsessed by the movie The Human Centipede (yep, this movie breaks the fourth wall). Starting with an arguing couple, we see Martin violently attack members of the public and “collect” 12 of them first in his van, and later an abandoned warehouse. I think you can see where this is going.
We also get to see the damaged relationship that Martin has with both his mother (a hateful woman who treats him appallingly) and his doctor (who seems to have carnal desires for Martin). Through flashback voice-over memories, we also get to find out that he was sexually abused by his now imprisoned father.
Although it is never clarified it is clear that Martin has a damaged mental state, not surprising given the home environment described above, which obviously results in him not being able to distinguish between fantasy and reality, as he seemingly thinks the human centipede is a “100% medically accurate” procedure.
Filmed entirely in black and white, for no obvious artistic reason, The Human Centipede 2 is a sub-standard follow-up to the first film. I will concede that the acting in the original will not win any awards (barring, perhaps, a Razzie), however it was sufficient enough to give us a cult character like Dr Heiter, played so menacingly crazy by Dietar Laser. In the sequel, however, I was at no point convinced by any of the actors, whether it is the silent-but-violent Martin (Laurence R Harvey) who failed to raise any emotion, good nor ill, through his facial expressions, or the returning Ashlynn Yennie portraying herself, seemingly duped into thinking she is auditioning for a Tarantino movie but not concerned by the fact she has been collected from the airport by a silent individual driving a dirty van.
Also missing this time around is the psychological trauma. The first film certainly contains some disturbing images and ideas, however the majority of this is alluded to, meaning that scenes such as when the middle person in the centipede is feeding from the faeces of the front person, it is all done through suggestion, rather than outright showing us the scat. Centipede 2, however, removes the subtlety and goes right for the jugular, as when faced with a similar scene to the above, we are treated to noise and even fake poo being splatted on walls and the camera. Delightful.
This time around, Six has decided that the violence associated with this crime isn’t enough, and has Martin also finding sexual pleasure in the movie, both on his own (masturbating using sand paper) and also by raping the end member of the centipede once he has been succesful. Although it is somewhat understandable that someone disturbed might be motivated by sex when deciding to make a ‘pede of their own, it actually felt more like Tom Six was just trying to shoe-horn the idea in, in an attempt to make the film more controversial than the first.
Probably the worst accusation I can fling it’s way is that, when it comes down to it, the film isn’t even that interesting. Poor acting and writing is bad enough, but if the story is strong enough, they can sometimes be forgiven (case in point, the first Human Centipede movie). But honestly I was counting down the minutes as this snoozer continued to lack any entertainment value, retreading the path it’s predecessor had already laid.
With The Human Centipede 2, Tom Six appears to be making a commentary on his own work, seemingly thinking that the original film had a larger impact on society than it actually had. Presumably, he is trying to suggest that whilst he has a twisted vision, it could be worse….although by making this film he has shown he IS worse! I would even go so far as to suggest that this film is irresponsible, in that it gives those disturbed people, like Martin, added material with which to get excited by.
A boring, gratuitously violent and graphic film, with little-to-no positives to speak of, I wouldn’t recommend anyone watch this except in punishment for crimes against humanity.
Did you know? Next year sees the release of The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence) featuring over 500 victims and stars Eric “Julia’s Brother” Roberts. Oh gawd…..