out of Five
Running time: 88
Frequently inventive and occasionally darkly funny (as well as utterly disgusting) Tom Six's sequel to his 2009 horror is essentially an inspired black joke that can be read as a reaction to the first film, though the joke eventually wears thin and the film becomes increasingly repetitive.
What's it all about?
Directed by Tom Six, The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence opens with mole-like parking attendant Martin (Laurence R Harvey, a real find) obsessively re-watching the 2009 film in his cubicle, and occasionally updating his impressive Human Centipede scrapbook. Naturally, it isn't long before he snaps and begins kidnapping strangers, crowbarring them unconscious and bringing them to an abandoned warehouse where he starts assembling his own 12-strong human centipede using lots and lots of gaffa tape.
Laurence R Harvey delivers an impressively vile performance as Martin, giggling childishly at his worst excesses (such as force-feeding his completed centipede laxatives) and moaning with joy as his dream comes to fruition. His performance is made all the more creepy by the fact that he doesn't have any dialogue, which apparently came about when the actor decided to play a scene without speaking and Six liked the idea so much he cut all his lines.
It doesn't take a genius to see that Martin is meant to stand for the media's (or at least the Daily Mail's) imagined viewer of the first film, an impressionable, child-like psychopath acting out on fantasies engendered by watching the 2009 horror. As such, this is a clever idea and there are some amusingly black jokes in the first half of the film, not least when Martin arranges to meet one of the original actresses and she speaks in press quotes, or his horrible mother (Vivien Birdson) drily declaring, “I have decided to kill us both.” (There's also an amusing shout-out to the FrightFest organisers, in that four of the centipede segments have been named after them).
Though a colour version does exist (as does an uncut-by-the-BBFC version), the decision to release the film in black and white seems particularly wise, although there is a flash of colour at one point, presumably in homage to Schindler's List. Ultimately, the main problem with the film is that, having made its one joke, it has nowhere else to go and eventually becomes rather repetitive (there is an awful lot of moaning and screaming), though it does at least have the balls to see its idea through to the end.
Boasting a horrifically creepy lead performance and a clever central idea, Human Centipede II won't disappoint fans of the first film, but the joke wears thin before the end and the film eventually becomes monotonous.