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MPI / 92 Minutes / 2009 / Unrated / Street Date: October 5, 2010
I LOVE a great indie horror film. One of my absolute favorite films of 2007 was Teeth. I equate the two films a great deal, because they’re both about human mutations, one natural (or really, unnatural) and one man-made, but I figured The Human Centipede would have a similar feel. The biggest difference is that Teeth had a sense of humor about itself. The Human Centipede is straight up horror without the sense of humor. Personally I prefer a horror movie with a sense of humor, but the premise of THC (an appropriate abbreviation) almost requires it to be a straight horror story.
We are first introduced to Dr. Heiter, played by the steel-jawed Dieter Laser. Mr. Laser is absolutely perfect for the role. From his piercing eyes, slightly pointy nose and extreme jaw line to his lanky stature and steely performance, he embodies, not only Dr. Heiter, but he embodies the perfect horror film doctor. If this film had been made in the 50’s Vincent Price would’ve been PERFECT. I almost wish the film had been made in the 50’s so that we could see Vincent Price in the role. That being said, Dieter Laser plays the role perfectly.
Next we meet Lindsay and Jenny, two beautiful American girls traveling through the German countryside. Unfortunately for them they get a flat tire in exactly the wrong area and eventually find Dr. Heiter’s house. Upon answering his door he must’ve thought he’d hit the jackpot. Both women are young, pretty and not real bright – the perfect victims! Well, before you know it they’re parts 2 & 3 of a three person “human centipede” headed by a Japanese man.
I was surprised as how early in the film the “human centipede” was created, but that ends up working well for the film. This is a seriously disturbing film. It’s not especially visually disturbing. This film works on the psyche and most of the horror is in imagining the situation the victims find themselves in. What’s great about the film is that its cringe-worthiness is not related to looking at the film. One could close their eyes and the film would be equally cringe-inducing. It’s the concept itself that is the most disturbing.
My biggest issue with the entire film is the direction and dialogue. The girls interactions are quite a bit over-the-top and written somewhat simplistic. Even Dieter Laser’s Dr. Heiter is just a bit overacted. It all seems to come down to Tom Six’s writing/directing being a bit ham-fisted. His premise is inspired and he should be applauded for that, but a more seasoned writer/director could’ve made the film something more along the lines of The Exorcist – timeless and a true classic.