Gentle readers, let me ask you: “You down with O.P.P.?”
Before you respond, allow me to clarify: I am not quoting the ever-so-catchy Naughty by Nature song from 1991. No, I want to know if you're down with other people's poop. Because, if you're not, Director Tom Six's The Human Centipede may not be for you.
And if you are...dear God, why?
American tourists Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie) and Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams) are enjoying a vacation in Germany until they get lost in the woods (literally) and seek refuge in the home of Dr. Josef Heiter (Dieter Laser). Dr. Heiter is a world-renowned expert at separating conjoined twins. However, at some point between his retirement and the beginning of the film, he went irretrievably insane and now is more interested in creating conjoined twins. Thus, it was Dr. Heiter's good fortune that two potential portions for his pet project fell into his lap.
There is no getting around the premise of the film. As Dr. Heiter explains to the girls and soon-to-be lead portion, Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura), in specific detail-he will surgically mutilate and then attach each of them mouth to anus to form one disgusting creature. Why? Because he's crazy!
What's worse is that he actually performs the surgery. That's right, The Human Centipede is not a film that jokes around, or merely hints at what could be. No, the title of the film is The Human Centipede and, by gum, Tom Six gives you a human centipede! But then the story continues for another 45 minutes! Over the course of which the audience learns that, while being part of a human centipede is one of the most disgusting ideas put on film, it is not the worst thing that could happen to you.
One difficulty in watching the picture, other than keeping your last meal down, is that it's difficult for the audience to sympathize with these girls. One does sympathize, of course, because no one should go through even half the things that happen here. However, Six could have tried to make these girls a bit more competent in horror movie survival. Think back to every horror film you've watched. Combine all the of the mistakes characters make, and you've got these two girls. Getting out of the car on a deserted road on a rainy night, wandering in the woods with a flashlight, going back in the house instead of running for help, hiding in a corner, not checking what's in your drink, and-worst of all-not running in the opposite direction when a scary/Germani/Mengele/Christopher Walken opens the door.
Dieter Laser is the real find here. Having the burden of about 60% of the dialogue all by himself (it's hard to talk with a mouthful of...yeah) and competing with one of the more striking visuals in recent horror movie history, Laser commands the audience's attention at all times. He's creepily fascinating and cannot wait to see him in future films.
The Human Centipede is an impressive picture. Aside from some minor pacing issues in the second half and the overall brutally disgusting subject matter. It delivers exactly what it says it will, and is far more interesting that I ever thought it would be. That said, I can't think of a person I'd recommend it to, and would require a signed and notarized consent and waiver before I show it to anyone.