It’s hard to say whether Tom Six’s horror film “The Human Centipede” is more appropriately reviewed by a critic or therapist.
Credit or blame — depending on how one looks at it — certainly must go to this aptly named Dutch filmmaker for producing an effort so horrifically twisted that it makes the “Saw” and “Hostel” movies look like lighthearted romps. And that’s without an excess of blood and gore.
The story line is of your basic horror-film variety: Two American women (Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie) vacationing in Germany make their way to an isolated house after their car breaks down in the woods late one night. One would think they’d be suspicious when the oily-looking man who greets them at the door asks, “Are you alone?” before inviting them in, but no. So after falling prey to the date-rape drug, they find themselves strapped to gurneys in his makeshift basement hospital.
Their host, it turns out, is Dr. Heiter (Dieter Laser), a twisted genius physician whose specialty is separating conjoined twins. But that’s become unsatisfying for the good doctor, who has decided to instead go in the opposite direction. With a third prisoner, a Japanese tourist (Akihiro Kitamura), at his disposal, he sets out to surgically create the titular phenomenon, which won’t be described here. Let’s just say the results — which the press notes proudly proclaim are “100% medically accurate!” — bring a whole new meaning to the term “kiss ass.”
Stylishly photographed and edited, the film boasts an undeniable technical proficiency,
and Laser’s performance as the demented villain is indelibly creepy.
As the phrase “First Sequence” attached to the title indicates, a sequel is on the way. You’ve been warned.
Opens Friday, April 30 (IFC Films)
Production: Six Entertainment
Cast: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura
Director-screenwriter: Tom Six
Producer: Ilona Six
Director of photography: Goof De Koning
Production designer: Thomas Stefan
Editor: Nigel De Hond
Music: Patrick Savage
No rating, 90 minutes