The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence (2011)
(18) Running time: 84 minutes (cut), 88 minutes (uncut)
Director: Tom Six
Writer: Tom Six
Starring: Laurence R. Harvey, Ashlynn Yennie, Maddi Black
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
Where the Hell do you begin to review a film like this, and is it at all possible to actually recommend it? Just watching it makes people call you names like “sick bastard” and “what’s wrong with you, why do you want to watch something like that?” Well, actually, I am a horror fan and usually the main point in horror is to upset the viewer in one way or another, hence the name horror. Whether you get scared, upset, disturbed or totally grossed out, horror is intended to shock, but the question is just how far can it go, and does filming something in black and white really make it arty and less sadistic? Hell no, Six has openly stated he wanted to give the ‘fans’ what they want after complaints that The Human Centipede: First Sequence was a little, shall we say, tame? Personally, I loved the first film, but all the hype about it being the sickest film ever just built it up too much and gave it a reputation it couldn’t possibly deliver on. The same cannot be said for the sequel ‘Full Sequence’ where we get a centipede of no less than twelve people, as opposed to the creepy Dr Heiter’s mere three. But the big question that looms over Six’s sequel is does it live up to it’s reputation, and was the BBFC right to ban it. I never agree with the banning of a film, we are adult and mature enough to make up our own minds, however, what this film shows is EXACTLY the issue the BBFC had with it being released, that in the wrong hands, or watched by a person dangerously on the edge, this film IS dangerous. So, does it live up to the hype this time round, oh yes, indeed it does!
When you look at the film, in its ‘arty’ look, the way Six addressed the complaints of the first, the shocking example of the reason for it being banned being the main plot of the film anyway, it all adds up to a very very clever piece of work, repulsive or not. See Six is an honest man, maybe too honest for his own good, and there is something about his sequel and his attitude to the whole palava that I like. I like the way he addressed the complaints after the media built up the last film, I like the way he has come back and basically said “you fucking asked for it so here it is”, and I like the way the way his previous film is represented here as the cause of new nutjob Martin’s fantasies. Its like he had already planned on how the BBFC would react and got there first by saying “yes, you are right, and here is the proof of what could happen if the wrong person, someone like Martin, watched it” Six, whether he realises or not, is a genius!
The black and white actually enhances the power of the film, sometimes too much colour can make things become almost too cartoonish or film like and can lose their realism. The decision to film in black and white was wise and creates an almost nightmarish feel to the film. Add to that the constant sounds of what can only be described as growling, baby noises and machinery in the background, it really does feel like you are living out someone’s worst, or in Martin’s case, best dreams. It all feels slightly detached, deranged and with Martin not muttering a single word, it feels disturbing. Martin, by the way, is an awesome creation, in fact I would go as far to say that you will not see a more better designed madman for a long long time. Dr Heiter was an exceptional bad guy, but he was controlled, dedicated and clever, he knew exactly what he was doing and even though was scary as fuck, you could, in a way, get inside his head. Martin, on the other hand, is totally unpredictable, you never know what he is thinking and the fact he has NO surgical training at all makes the whole premise of him stitching (actually stapling) twelve people together quite horrific. He has sudden moments of truly disturbing acts, like impersonating a baby, his sudden temper tantrums where you honestly feel his eyes will pop out of his skull, the way he calmly lies on his bed at home after his dear Mother tried to kill him, the way he looks at the bully from the flat upstairs, and then there’s the masturbating with sand paper! Yes, quite a creation.
The tiny Martin wanders around the film almost like a baby looking for his toys, barely four feet tall at times he actually looks incredibly harmless and you just wander how this funny looking little man is going to pull off his masterwork. He coughs and splutters his way through the film, sucking on his inhaler and, scarily, adds an incredible amount of comedy to the film. When things turns really nasty, you are horrified by what you see on screen, and then you can hear his coughing and urging in the background and it is, sadly, very very funny, and here is where the film works, for the most part, its sense of humour.
Martin lives at home with his Mum, who bullies him and wants to end both their lives after her husband was locked up. Turns out Martin was abused as a child and is obsessed with his pet centipede. You suddenly realise the gentle comedy structure to the film when a psychiatrist visits and claims the centipede and Martin’s abusive childhood are related, the look of “yes, I am so right” on the Doctor’s face, along with his subtle smile and sitting forward, is a key to Six’s comedy. He is actually taking the piss with this film, and if you look closely enough the comedy is all over the place. The only problem is, once you get to the end, things go way too far and it is difficult to laugh, even when you see Martin dancing in his underwear and surgical jacket that is way to big for him! However, it is the first hour which shows that Six, given the right film, could and should become a director to watch. His attention to detail with Martin and his Mum is exceptional work, and Six has gotten some superb acting out of the pair and there are moments of pure hate between them. It is edgy, often funny, baffling and compelling, but Mother has no idea what her bonkers son is up to.
He is working in a car park at night, picking off victims and shooting them in the foot and then bashing them over the head to knock them out and take them to his very large garage. It is here he intends to create his own Human Centipede, and the victims begin to mount up. Watching Martin stalk his victims a sudden look of pure evil comes over his face and he starts to really disturb. Once he gets his victims he then brings in his tool box and starts work on his Centipede, and here is where the film gets truly horrific. In a vicious twist of fate, he even gets the star of the first film, Ashlynn Yennie, to come along thinking she is starring on a Tarantino film. Turns out the first film was indeed a film after all people, and NOT real!!! It’s another clever move by Six, but you just wander what Yennie was thinking signing up for another Centipede film. What she went through in the first film aint half as bad as what she goes through here!
So it is in the final twenty eight minutes that the film truly lives up to it’s promise, and here is where Six gives the audience what they cried out for. You can hear him saying to everyone that doubted him “happy now? Is this what you wanted you sick bastards?” Yes, this is Six’s big two fingers to those who complained the first film was not all that bad, and he answers those critics (including me) by giving us almost half an hour of pure, unflinching, gut wrenching, nauseating over the top violence that just never seems to stop. Each scene betters the one before and anyone who would actually get any enjoyment out of watching this is a Martin waiting to happen. Teeth are smashed out, staples used to connect the bodies, knee caps sliced open, the centipede is fed like a dog and then force fed and in one of the sickest moments, the Centipede is given laxatives to make it shit, simply because Martin wants to see it. Watching this freak of nature run around the room making shit noises with his mouth is funny and disturbing as Hell. Make no mistake, this final half hour WILL make you feel sick, and at the very least you will feel disgusted. It’s an onslaught, but the worrying thing is that it looks so darned good, the black and white really helps and the special effects work wonders. Repulsive or not, it looks flawless and Six should at least be applauded for that. This is certainly not a film to watch in the cinema while munching down on a hotdog, and it is certainly not a film you will walk away from and recommend to your friends.
As I said before, it is very very hard to recommend this, and it is very hard to say that the film is actually quite good, but it is. It looks good, is well acted, well timed and so viciously honest you cannot help but welcome Six’s balls to do what was asked of him. Yes this will offend just about everyone but there is a hidden talent here, a quiet genius who may actually be a lot more talented than he realises. Six went in with the intention to shock, and he delivers, my only concern is that he promises The Human Centipede part 3 will make this look like a Disney film. Yes, you pushed boundaries here, but saying that about your next film comes very close to admitting that this is just some cheap trick to make money. There is something rather brilliant in Part 2, don’t ruin it by pushing things too far and pissing even the fans off with Part 3.
Ross Hughes scored the film 1.5/5 and you can read his thoughts here
[pt-filmtitle]The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)[/pt-filmtitle]