The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (18)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner20/08/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 92 mins

The Human Centipede isn't nearly as gory as its admittedly repulsive premise might lead you to believe – it's actually darkly funny and surprisingly enjoyable, thanks to stylish direction and a terrific performance from Dieter Laser.

What's it all about?
Directed by Tom Six, The Human Centipede was apparently inspired by a conversation about a suitable punishment for convicted paedophiles. Ashley C Williams and Ashlynn Yennie star as Lindsay and Jennie, a pair of American tourists in Germany who get lost on their way to a nightclub and end up at the home of creepy-looking ex-surgeon Doctor Heiter (Dieter Laser).

After drinking drugged water, Lindsay and Jennie wake up strapped to operating tables, where Doctor Heiter explains that he intends to stitch them together into a three-part human centipede, along with a third victim (Akihiro Kitamura) who doesn't speak any English. The doctor is, unfortunately, as good as his word and soon the three are bonded together in the worst way imaginable, but will the arrival of a couple of suspicious cops (Andreas Leupold and Peter Blankenstein) provide an opportunity for a 12-legged escape?

The Good
Laser delivers a brilliantly creepy performance as Heiter (there's a touch of the Walkens about him) and makes a fine addition to the roll call of mad movie scientists. There's also strong support from Kitamura, Williams and Yennie, though the actresses, being the middle section and the tail respectively, don't get much to do in the second half except shuffling and crying.

The script is darkly funny, particularly whenever reference is made to Heiter's beloved Three-Dog (or 3-Hund), his first attempt at the same experiment. The film is also impressively directed in a coldly clinical style and alternates cleverly between suspense, black comedy and continual, disturbing, ever-present horror (the girls basically never stop whimpering).

The Great
However, the strength of the film is that the horror is largely left to your imagination, rather than up there on the screen – there are only brief shots of the (obviously fake) operation and the, er, attachment areas are covered in bandages, so you're not constantly confronted with nasty-looking prosthetics. That said, you can't help but feel horrifically sorry for the actresses (both are half-naked for the entire second half) and there is at least one digestion-related moment where those with weak stomachs might want to look away.

Worth seeing?
Provided you can get past the repulsive premise, The Human Centipede is a well made, darkly funny and brilliantly weird horror flick with a terrific central performance from Dieter Laser.

Film Trailer

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (18)
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Content updated: 15/12/2017 12:10

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