HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2 (FULL SEQUENCE)
As a horror movie: *1/2 (out of 5 stars)
As a comedy: **** (out of 5 stars)
October 7, 2011
Laurence R. Harvey as MARTIN
Ashlynn Yennie as MISS YENNIE
Vivien Bridson as MISSES LOMAX
Bill Hutchens as DR. SEBRING
Directed by: Tom Six
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
After its notorious screening at Fantastic Fest in Austin a few weeks ago where someone reportedly got physically ill and at least two critics suffered temporary hatred of all things cinema, I was worried that there would be nothing left to say about Tom Six’s much feared and anticipated sequel to his gross-out thriller “Human Centipede (First Sequence).”
However, like anything that could be simultaneously considered visionary and trashy, there’s often more enjoyment talking about the film than actually watching it.
After fielding complaints that “Human Centipede (First Sequence)” covered gut-wrenching concepts while also failing to actually deliver in the gross-out category, Six embarked on a masturbatory effort in the sequel. As my colleague Dr. Cole Abaius points out in his brilliantly written review of the film, Six is in love with himself and his previous film so much that he spends an inordinate amount of screen time with the main character watching the first “Human Centipede.”
So yes, Six’s true colors really show in this movie, trying to make the film as much about himself and his foreseen influence on would-be serial killers as it is about a horrific concept being brought to reality. And you’ll have to get past that to see any sort of enjoyment in this movie. You’ll also have to get past the film’s horrific nature and ultimately the perception that it is a horror film. Because “Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)” fails completely as a horror film, but as an unintentional comedy, it’s knee-slappingly funny.
The story follows a short, fat, possibly mute man named Martin Lomax (Laurence R. Harvey) who works at an underground garage. Martin is obsessed with “Human Centipede (First Sequence),” so much so that he watched the DVD on a continuous loop, he keeps a scrapbook about the movie under his filthy mattress and he is planning on continuing the legacy set forth by the evil albeit fictional Dr. Heiter.
While suffering rude neighbors at home, memories of being raped by his father (told with the near-Shakespearean flashback dialogue of “Stop them tears. You’re just making daddy’s willie harder”) and an overbearing mother who doesn’t understand him, Martin devises a plan as sloppy and slovenly as himself. He spends the bulk of the film kidnapping people from the garage with the goal of surgically connecting them mouth-to-anus in a line of twelve. We all have dreams, don’t we?
First off, let’s just say if you’re looking for a gross-out movie where people are connected ass-to-lips so that each unit craps in the next person’s mouth… if that’s all you want out of “Human Centipede 2,” then you’ll get that. I don’t think that statement even needs a spoiler alert, considering Tom Six all but promised this to his audience. So yes, people are connected. People poop. People gag on other people’s poop. Are you expecting anything less?
It reminds me how the first movie served as nothing more than a waiting game to see when the victims would be sewn together and what’s going to happen when one of them has to poop. Aside from Dieter Laser’s inspired performance, the first film was an experience of a waiting game.
This one has a similar goal, which is to see what happens when this monstrosity is created and what the reaction is going to be.
But aside from that main goal, “Human Centipede 2” is quite lackluster as a horror movie. It’s shot in HD and mastered in black-and-white, which I’ve always considered a ludicrous endeavor in digital filmmaking. I suppose the reason is twofold: 1) to gain a modicum of arthouse credibility desperately coveted by Tom Six, and 2) to make the partially-colored poop shots that much more grotesque.
As a horror movie, “Human Centipede 2” fails to offer any level of pathos or sympathy from any character, be it the victims or the anti-hero. I felt nothing for the people being put through the torture, and similarly, I felt nothing for Martin whose awful life led him to this level of depravity.
There are logic and continuity problems abound, including questions as to why after a dozen disappearances at the same location do no cops ever show up, or for that matter what the actual confused chronology of the movie is. I suppose Six answers this in an ending that is truly offensive to the viewer, not for gore or violence but rather for how cliched it is. But the movie just doesn’t fit together from one scene to another.
However, where “Human Centipede 2” surprisingly works is as a comedy, like a barf bag version of “The Room.’ The dialogue is ridiculously awful, and the acting is uninspired. But the real silliness is when the film reaches its third act. Tom Six goes for extreme horror, and while he achieves a hysterical over-the-top splatterfest, he fails. There is no horror because there’s no connection to the characters. However, there is hilarity abound in this most perverse poo-poo-ca-ca fantasy that could have easily come from the mind of an eight year old.
I found myself laughing in the final act more than I ever thought I would, even at its most horrific moments. They weren’t shocking or brutal, but instead ridiculous and silly because it was clear Six was trying to shock the audience. But like a horny high school kid who got his hands up a girl’s shirt for the first time, Six honestly has no idea what he’s doing there, losing all sense of what-if-it-did-happen that made the first movie effective.
So, if you must see “Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence),” go with it being a comedy in mind. Better yet, when it comes to DVD, watch it on double speed with the Benny Hill theme in the background. I’m sure then it will be a true laugh riot.