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February 20, 2011

The Human Centipede (First Sequence)

by Franz Patrick


Human Centipede (First Sequence), The (2009)
★★★ / ★★★★

Lindsay and Jenny (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie), American tourists in Germany, were invited by a boy to attend a party. But on the way there, their car broke down in the middle of nowhere. Desperate for help, they decided to walk to the nearest house they could find and telephone for help. The two unlucky women knocked on Dr. Heiter’s (Dieter Laser) door. It just so happened that the doctor, a renowned surgeon for dividing siamese twins, was in need of human subjects for his latest experiment. Written and directed by Tom Six, when the film started, I thought it was completely hopeless. The acting was egregiously laughable, the script was terrible because the characters lacked internal dialogue, and the kidnapping happened on a cold, foggy, rainy night. On top of that, Lindsay and Jenny made the worst decisions. When asked by Dr. Heiter if they were alone, they decided to be honest instead of saying that the rest of their friends were waiting for them in the car. When offered water, they made no hesitation to drink it. Not for one second did I believe that the girls were from New York. They lacked common sense. However, there was something mesmerizing about how the twisted events played out. When the girls had finally woken from the effects of the drugged water, I was convinced that the director purposely made the first fifteen minutes to be comical. He was aware of the conventions of the horror genre and he wanted to make fun of it. The real horror was thrown on our lap when the doctor explained to his subjects, using images from a projector, what his experiment was about. Although I felt sick to my stomach, admittedly, I was curious how it would turn out. The best scenes were when Lindsay ran around the house to look for an escape route. I was glad that Six remained true to Lindsay’s character. She just wasn’t a very bright person. When given the chance between going through an open door that led to freedom and saving her friend in the basement, she chose the latter. A smart person would have ran like the wind through that door and not stopped until she found help. Through delayed gratification, you can save someone later by not saving them now. Instead, she was stuck trying to carry her friend’s body up the stairs and around the house. Didn’t it occur to her that Jenny was recently drugged and would not regain consciousness any time soon? But I digress. Maybe she just panicked. I must commend Laser for playing such a cold and utterly unsympathetic character. Every look, body movement, and silence between his words was terrifying. The film offered no reason why he wanted to make a so-called human centipede. Perhaps it was simply because he had an innately curious scientific mind and he just wanted to see if he could do it. “The Human Centipede (First Sequence)” was a shocking, disgusting, grotesque horror picture. But it was also, and more importantly, brazen, darkly comic and inventive. The more I looked into the details of its craft, such as having a Japanese character which was most likely a wink to equally twisted Japanese horror films, the more impressed I was with it.

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