Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review - The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)

A mentally ill man who is obsessed with with the horror movie "The Human Centipede (First Sequence)" decides to take his fantasties to the next level by creating his own human centipede.

"The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)" is a response by director Tom Six to everyone who said "The Human Centipede (First Sequence)" wasn't grotesque enough. The audience wanted to be repulsed and Tom Six set out to give it to them. While Tom's decision to react to the audience complaints is a problem on its own, the film itself presents a whole other batch of problems. The biggest one being that the horror begs the audience to throw out any sense of reason or logic so that we can be inundated by the revolting third act. I am getting ahead of myself though, let me talk about a few other issues before I dig into the stomach turning third act.

So much of what I loved about the first 'Human Centipede' was the film's satire and comedic tone riddled under a horrifying experiment. The audience had Dr. Heiter, a character that is truly atrocious but is also awkwardly endearing. Take his love for his three-dog, it is hysterical and provides a ton of much needed comic relief to a hard to swallow subject matter. It is clear that Dr. Heiter is deranged just the character introduced in '(Full Sequence)' Martin, but he had a quality that propelled the movie from being just another sick horror film. He gave the film a hook that worked. This time the tone has changed, there is nothing to laugh at. The audience may find themselves laughing, but it will be at the absurdity of what is unfolding or as a means to release a bit of the tension 'The Human Centipede II' houses.

The character of Martin is not a complete failure. For one, Tom Six and Ilona Six deserve credit for finding actor with such a haunting look as Laurence R. Harvey does. My initial thoughts seeing him on screen were not about how vile of a character he is but what the actual human being had to most likely endure growing up. Let's just say that Laurence R. Harvey's presence on screen takes effect from the first sight of him. He is a unsettling individual and Tom Six knew to take full advantage of Harvey's disadvantages.

One thing in "The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence)" that deserves a round of applause is Tom Six's decision to use black and white to shoot with. It presents a haunting picture that really added dimension to the character of Martin not to mention the dreary and unsettling tone to the film. The black and white cinematography also helped to allow Tom Six to get dirty and not lose the impact. Too often lately, the really gory blood has looked fake, but here in black and white, the darkness of blood translated in a way that might have been harder to master in color. This brings me to how sloppy '(Full Sequence)' is compared to '(First Sequence).' The original Tom Six horror felt clinical and clean while being completely deranged where as this time everything is blunt, dirty and repulsing. One of plenty examples illustrating Tom Six recoiling to the reactions that the first film wasn't gross enough.

Logic can be a tricky beast. There are plenty of examples in cinema where logic is thrown right out the window and the film/story still works without error. 'The Human Centipede II' is not one of those examples. Instead it is the lack of logic that removes the audience with the first ten minutes. First is Martin's means of capture. He shoots and bludgeons his victims in a manner that really begs the question if they would be able to survive. Not only that but the length of capture, days span by and the audience is expected to believe these numerous victims are able to survive gaping wounds for extended periods of time. As the bodies pile up another obvious question becomes apparent, why aren't these victims trying to escape? Most of them lie on the floor with no real sense of fear or struggle. These victims are duct-taped at the wrists and feet only for days, with no resistance, these victims should have been able to rip or tear out of the tape. Especially once there are multiple victims lying next to each other. Why wouldn't they band together before Martin forces them together? Another example is the location where Martin captures his victims. Martin works in a parking garage. He stalks his victims through video monitors acting at the opportune moments. This works at first but then there is a question of authority. When people go missing, people began looking. No one ever comes looking. This parking garage seems like it is the middle of nowhere except there are is constantly new victims popping up. Also, this job would seem to require more than just one employee or at least a supervisor but we never see one. We just get a mentally ill character working on his own with no superiors. There are a number of other factors that will not elaborate on like the stature of Martin versus some of the people he is over-powering and carrying or his health that also raise an eyebrow but again, Tom Six requires his audience to forget about any of that logic just for the sake of the reactionary third act.

The third act of 'Human Centipede II' achieves its goal, it is more gross than 'Human Centipede,' but that is about it. All of the coarse and heinous acts are sickening, but without any lasting effects. I found myself having to turn away in a few moments but these scenes are never intense or reach a true sense of fear they could. They are just gross. I respected the fact that the original film teased grotesque yet never fully delivered it. While here when director Tom Six gave his vocal critics what they wanted, it came off as nothing more than a cheap spectacle. I was duped. I feel like I just drank some elixir that promises to give me increased stamina or some other grandiose claim but in fact was just a hoax. Director Tox Six has digressed with his sequel. Instead of making a quality sequel he decided to pull a "I'll show you" approach to film making. The result is a failure.