No matter how glossy and polished, an exploitation film will never amount to more than just that. The difference between The Human Centipede (First Sequence) and thousands of late-night cable flicks is focus. Writer/director Tom Six dreamed up a hooky premise and nailed the execution of that premise. Unfortunately, he avoided filling in the infinite holes with story and character arcs. Did I expect something different? Of course not. It's called Human Centipede.
There are two ways to look at Human Centipede. One is with the knowledge that it follows many recent horrors in getting a depth-free concept to look as good as possible without putting any imagination into the words in the script. The other way to look at it is on the store's shelf, at a distance further than arm's length. A 30-second spoiler video online could present, with a respectable brevity, all that this film brings to the (operating) table.
We're all aware of how many plot details horror movies share. Let's take a lazy jog through the opening here. Two mostly attractive dimwit American females in Germany get lost down a back road outside the city and fall victim to a flat tire. After being verbally accosted by a fat pervert through the car's window, the girls seek help, but by walking through the woods in the dark, instead of along the road. The first house they come to belongs to Dr. Heiter (Diester Laser), an esteemed surgeon with a disturbing form of God complex. It'd be wrong not to admit that Laser's egotistically psychotic performance is the main aspect I'm not embarrassed to compliment. Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) and Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) are interchangeable, and could possibly have been replaced by screaming robots. I'll commend them soon enough.
Dr. Heiter has done something no one else has done before. He surgically attached three dogs together, head to ass. Why did he do that? Well, isn't that what the medical community does, tamper with things in uncomfortable ways? No? Oh, well, then I have no fucking clue why Dr. Heiter would want to do something like that, much less put the thought and practice into it. What I can tell you is apparently dogs are the gateway surgical victim, because now Heiter is in a tizzy to get some humans stitched together in the same way. Believe it or not, people aren't lining up around the block for this.
So, as viewers, we've already counted our losses, but there are many places this story could be taken. Unfortunately, it stays in the same place the entire film. Due credit goes to Six for keeping the doctor's house/laboratory as unboring as possible. (I get really sick of trees in certain woodsy movies.) I just wish the story had taken a route that invited more into it: characters, setting, plot, etc.
It's probably a spoiler to give away when the doctor's work comes to its three-headed fruition. So I'll just say it's after he's had time to replace one male "donor" with another, the Japanese Katsu (Akihiro Kitamura). And it comes with enough time remaining to briefly think of yourself in the same situation, and to look at the clock about a billion times. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that the only thing that happens during the centipede's existence is the passage of shit from ass to mouth, and the fear of the passage of shit from ass to mouth. Oh, and it proves there was a choreographer on set to teach these three morons how to walk together.
This movie was made to gross people out with the thought of having your mouth sewed onto another person's asshole. That's not even casual opinion. The director says it multiple times in his commentary, which is even more uncomfortable and disgusting than the film. I can't get behind that kind of sloppiness. If you were really bored, you could contemplate the psychological problems that Heiter has, but you could also spend that time wondering how many hairs are on Heiter's head. It's your loss either way. The final act achieves a bit of tenseness thanks to a couple of cops, but nothing to change the mind.
It's a testament to a film's failure when it can present this kind of story and I want to avoid talking about it, lest it justify its being. A historical drama might bring me to talk about sewing a face to an ass, but Human Centipede just makes me want to watch a historical drama. It doesn't make me want to take a bath, as some might say, because I was more disgusted by a lack of story than by the onscreen gore. I can't believe the discomfort that the three younger actors had to go through in order to make such a shitty feature. That was my commendation for the girls. Avoid this movie like you would a real centipede, unless you're just that into this kind of thing.
The features listed here are all boring and not worth your time. Honesty is brutality. Wait, there's one short deleted scene of Heiter dancing around like a madman while the centipede makes moaning noises. (I did wonder about the odd sensation of having someone moan into my surgically opened rear. Way to go, Tom Six.) A 10-minute behind-the-scenes shows you the preparation and thought process that went into being a section of the monster, among other things. Tom Six gives a five-minute interview where he's apparently oblivious to his lack of talent, and thinks having a 12-person segment for the sequel is a step in the right direction. Two minutes of casting tapes and photography is really fucking awful. The girls scream a lot, and then take preliminary pictures kneeling down as the centipede. Sounds sexy, but isn't. The "Foley Session" sounds extremely unsexy, as it's meat being squished up for sound effect purposes. Trailer. Alternate posters.
I've justified this movie's existence enough. The titular experiment may be offensive to some, but it's more offensive that Six thought he could squeeze by on that alone. Two hundred thumbs down. (Centipede joke.)