Friday, January 11, 2013

Review: Human Centipede II: Full Sequence

Plot: “Human Centipede II” sort of goes the “Blair Witch 2” route: It acknowledges the first movie was only a movie. "Centipede II" tells the story of its most passionate fanboy: a morbidly obese, bug-eyed, asthmatic loner parking attendant named Martin (Laurence R. Harvey). Now Martin also happens to be completely insane, thanks to a combination of psychological, physical and sexual abuse from his dad, his mom, his doctor and pretty much every authority figure in his life. He’s also obsessed with “Human Centipede,” so he does all the usual fanboy stuff: keeps a scrap book highlighting his favorite parts of the movie, watches it over and over, keeps a centipede as a pet, envisions acting out the movie in real life. On second thought, maybe not so usual. Pretty soon, Martin starts using his job in the parking garage, as well as his trusty crowbar, to kidnap unsuspecting victims to make his own “centipede” --- a sequence of 12-people stitched together mouth-to-butt. Of course, unlike the doctor in the first movie, Martin has no training and performing surgery is hard, so things get icky. 

Thoughts: I have a hard time writing about movies like “Human Centipede II.” The “Hills Have Eyes” remake comes to mind as another example. That movie is brutally violent and has an unfulfilling ending, plus the characters constant poor decision-making never fail to tick me off. But I can at least acknowledge "Hills" is a mostly a fully formed, competent, if not dumb-as-hell movie.
Actors not given much to do, script alternates between boring and sickening, effects are good, but it's all too twisted for me
So right upfront, it’s really hard for me to get passed how perverse “Human Centipede II” is. Whereas part one was only gross in theory, part two has fully embraced and acted on that theory.
            But it was writer/director Tom Six’s intention to make this movie repulsive and he did just that, so in a way it’s a success. Plus, I have the sneaking suspicion that Six is just as happy when someone comes up to him and tells him they f’n hated “Centipede II” as he is when they come up and say they loved it.
            I think of Six as the grown-up version of a little kid who just keeps repeating everything you’re saying, just to push your buttons. He wants a reaction, he doesn’t care what it is, he just wants one.
            Back to my point. The thing is, unlike “Hills,” the redeeming qualities in “Centipede II” are few and far between.
The first two-thirds or so of the movie are horribly boring and massively depressing, but not overly gory or visually gross at all. About halfway through, I started to think I’d been had. That the crazy stories were all a myth. Nope. Once the third act starts, and Martin starts using kitchen utensils and hand tools to perform impromptu surgeries, force-feeding people soup and injecting them with laxatives, it comes very, very close to being unwatchable. Don’t believe me? At one point poop literally hits the camera.
            I will say this for Six, the man is smart. He knows his movie is too despicable to attract, shall we say, the cream of the acting crop. So he wisely keeps the dialogue to a bare minimum and casts based on appearances. For example, leading man Laurence R. Harvey (Martin) is just a really weird looking dude. Who knows if he can act? He’s the main character and Six gave him no lines whatsoever. The guy just walks around looking weird, and occasionally squeaks and coos like a baby.  
In fact, not much is asked of any of the actors other than to writhe on the ground. Hell, the second half of the movie is almost completely dialogue-free, just a lot of moans, whimpers and screams. It’s shrewd, plus Six got to funnel all that money he saved on actors into a lot of undeniably impressive gore effects.
            In many ways, Six seems to have gone to the Rob Zombie school of film-making. The movie is populated almost exclusively with ugly and detestable characters. I think in the whole movie, there are three people who aren’t painted as at least douchebags --- the pregnant lady, her husband and her kid.
Also in true Zombie fashion, Martin’s backstory is so horrific it would be amazing if he didn’t turn out to be a serial killer.
            At first, the movie’s very end really pissed me off because it’s so cheap and clichéd and I was convinced we’d moved passed accepting that device as an acceptable way to end a movie. The more I thought about it, I realized it was another example Six’s evil genius.
Spoiler Alert!

Martin daydreams the whole thing.

I know, it sucks, but think about it. Six’s script is totally devoid of human logic and chock-full of cavernous plot holes, but by passing it all off a dream in the mind of a psycho, poof all of that goes away! His movie doesn’t have to make sense! Sure, it’s criminally lazy, but it’s still smart.
            My mind can’t process stuff like “Human Centipede II.” The best I can say about it is the first half will have you staring at your watch and the last half will have you staring at the “stop” button.

Worst of the Worst

            You might want to go ahead and skip this part if you like babies or your sanity. You’ve been warned.
            OK, so that pregnant lady we talked about earlier? At one point she passes out from being repeatedly bludgeoned with a crowbar. Martin thinks she’s dead and so he drags her in the corner and puts a tarp over her. Only problem? She’s not dead.
            Pretty shortly there after, the lady goes into labor, which wakes her up.
            So, she stands up and starts to run towards the exit, which is all the way across the warehouse where Martin is building his centipede --- and also mysteriously unlocked.
            While she’s running, she starts to give birth, so all manner of gross stuff starts coming out of her. Yet she keeps running, at a very slow speed. All. The. Way. Across. The. Warehouse.
            Martin calmly watches all of this happen, thinking nothing of the fact that not only is the lady suddenly alive again, but she’s escaping to tell the outside world what he’s done.
            Eventually, she reaches a car outside the warehouse, which is also mysteriously unlocked and it also just so happens to have the keys in it. She hops in and in true horror movie fashion, struggles to get it to start. Remember, she’s giving birth this whole time.
            It’s around this time that Martin decides he should maybe try to stop her, so he gradually peruses her outside.
            In the car, the baby is now completely out of the woman and it’s rolling around on the car floor.
            I urge you to read no more, I really do.
            Martin reaches the car and the woman sees him and flips out. In her eagerness to escape, she stomps on the gas pedal. Problem is, her newborn baby’s head was underneath it so … yeah.
            This was the closest I came to stopping the movie. This whole sequence serves no purpose whatsoever other than shock value. Afterwards the lady is never heard from again. Her escape leads to nothing. It’s not horror or storytelling, it’s just Six pushing the audience’s buttons, embracing rock bottom in order to get any reaction he can.
I’m seriously considering never writing about Tom Six again. He has some potential as a filmmaker and a businessman, but I don’t think we’d get along well in the outside world.
There’s not enough Purell on the planet to make me feel clean again after wading through this joyless affair. May god have mercy on my soul for having given him $3.99 of my money via iTunes.
            Bumblebee tuna.

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