MOVIE REVIEW: The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009)

By Woofer McWooferson

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) movie poster

Writer and Director: Tom Six; Stars: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura; Rating: R; Run Time: 92 min; Genre: Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2009

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is one of those rare movies where viewers are well aware of the premise and yet are delightfully surprised by the execution – if the viewer is not easily nauseated. Writer and director Tom Six transforms a minimal cast, typical setup, and standard location into a dark comedy that is just serious enough to set the stage for the coming sequels. Six makes the most of the performances, and we feel the terror and revulsion that the victims endure. When The Human Centipede (First Sequence) was released, horror fans were already divided into two camps: 1) hard core fans who have to see everything and 2) those repulsed by the concept. Six himself admits there is no middle ground, only those who love it and those who hate it.

The movie centers around Dr. Heiter and his mad crusade to connect three humans together in a grotesque ass to mouth procedure (100% Medically Accurate!). Writer and director Tom Six sets a languorous pace, allowing viewers get to know Lindsay (Ashley C. Williams), Jenny (Ashlynn Yennie), and Katsuro (Akihiro Kitamura) as the horror grows exponentially. We empathize and sympathize with the would-be segments as they are joined and then trained by the mad doctor. The horror, nausea, and revulsion that they experience is palpable, and the ego-maniacal insanity of Dr. Heiter is both unquestionable and unwavering. By the time the characters become segments, we are lost in their sorrow and anguish, shuddering both internally and externally. The end is more powerful than one would expect from a movie with this premise, but it works and it brings us back to the sobering reality of the situation.

In spite of its flaws, it's a better horror movie that most credit it. Indeed, Six ensures the film maintains an extremely dark comedic layer by allowing Dieter Laser free reign as the mad doctor and by the “100 Medically Accurate” disclaimer. The mad doctor's house is beautiful, allowing for some incredible cinematography. The movie begins and ends with long pan shots that draw us into the film as it begins and drawing us out as it ends. Between these we are treated to a movie that pushes the bounds of taste aside and strides through with a purpose. While the gore level remains quite low, this movie should not be viewed by very young children. The Human Centipede (First Sequence) is not for the easily disgusted, but it is for cult film fans. And Tom Six has only begun.

Check out my introduction to The Human Centipede trilogy and watch for my reviews of The Human Centipede (Full Sequence) and The Human Centipede (Final Sequence) as well as an

Posted by Alan Smithee

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