Review: ‘The Human Centipede: First Sequence’

A beyond-twisted body horror experiment. 'Going there' does not a movie make.

What has 12 legs, three heads and a single digestive tract? The disagreeable creation at the center of Tom Six’s “The Human Centipede: First Sequence,” a beyond-twisted body horror experiment in which a mad surgeon, renowned for separating Siamese twins, kidnaps and conjoins three unlucky tourists mouth-to-anus for no reason other than to satisfy his own sadistic whims (and the morbid curiosity of a certain type of moviegoer). Only real payoff is seeing the monstrosity assembled, and though that will surely earn the Dutch writer-director a cult reputation on the genre circuit, “going there” does not a movie make.

Though Six’s execution proves far less graphic than the mutilation depicted in so-called “torture porn,” at least those controversial pics offer social commentary of some kind. By contrast, “Human Centipede” can’t be bothered to expand upon its unpleasant premise, inviting auds to revel in its sick humor by favoring Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser, doing his best Udo Kier) and characterizing the victims as shallow expendables (reduced to acting with their eyes). Camera, sound and gore work meet today’s horror standards, sure to impress those for whom empathy is no concern.

The Human Centipede: First Sequence

Netherlands

Production

A Six Entertainment production. Produced by Ilona Six, Tom Six. Executive producer, Ilona Six. Directed, written by Tom Six.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Goof de Koning; music, Patrick Savage, Holeg Spies. Reviewed on DVD, Los Angeles, Sept. 29, 2009. (In Fantastic Fest, Austin.) Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura, Andreas Leupold. (English, German, Japanese dialogue)

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