Skip to main content
The Independent Critic

Dieter Laser, Ashley Williams, Ashlyn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura
Tom Six
Rated R
90 Mins.
IFC Films
Unrated edition

 "The Human Centipede" Review 
Add to favorites
There are two possibilities for you in viewing the latest IFC Films release The Human Centipede (First Sequence), written and directed by Dutch writer/director Tom Six.

You will love it.


You will hate it.

It's difficult to fathom any middle ground in this incredibly bizarre story involving two rather, um, dim-witted American tourists (aren't they all?) whose vehicle break down leads them to the door of a retired surgeon, Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser). The two young women (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlyn Yennie) quickly find themselves subjected to an evil fantasy (Is there a non-evil fantasy in movies?) of our rather warped doctor... He plans to attach the two, along with a third chap (Akihiro Kitamura) who just so happens to already be on the operating table.

Oh, did I mention he's attaching them ass-to-mouth?

Yes, he's creating a human centipede.

Sound strange? Oh, it is.

It's strange. It's sick. It's offensive. It's not even pulled off that particularly well, but thanks to a strangely hypnotic and Christopher Walken-like performance from Dieter Laser, it's all uncomfortably watchable.

The Human Centipede is the sort of film you watch and actually feel guilty for those parts you can't help but enjoy.

It's difficult to figure out just who the target audience is for The Human Centipede, a film that is surprisingly non-graphic for a film that has the look, feel and story behind it to be another rousing version of torture porn. Yet, the film isn't particularly suspenseful either. In fact, other than a few psychological chills, The Human Centipede is remarkably devoid of anything resembling an emotion even when the two young women, who aren't particularly sympathetic even when sewn together, show signs of their worsening psychological states.

Even fecal freaks (How often do you read that phrase in a movie review?) will likely find themselves disappointed given the film's decided lack of body fluids given the obvious potential.

The simple truth is that the selling point, beyond the obvious novelty of the entire situation, is the freakish yet disturbing performance of Dieter Laser as the evil doctor, a performance that perfectly blends evil scientist with serial killer with misunderstood genius. It's a frightening performance because Laser makes it all feel so gosh darn normal.

Still, odds are The Human Centipede is not for most of you and, given its limited nationwide release, it would appear that IFC Films recognizes that even amongst horror fans you can only get so bizarre. This film, quite likely, just plain goes too far. Fans of extreme, B-horror and experimental horror will find moments to enjoy. The rest of you? Go see A Nightmare on Elm Street instead.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic