Original Review From Fantastic Fest ‘11
Despite being shown in theatres, it’s hard to actually classify The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence as a film. Like Faces of Death, it’s a collection of increasingly gross ideas strung together, specifically designed to push buttons and offend with the added bonus of having something that barely passes as a narrative woven between them. When viewed in that light, it’s admirable how committed director Tom Six is to his vision and how uncompromised it feels, but as he explained during a post-screening Q&A, it’s basically a bunch of leftover ideas that he couldn’t fit in the first time around. The explanation makes sense, but it certainly doesn’t setup the context for why these events are occurring or what Six is attempting to comment on with his grotesque display of medical inaccuracies. With the original presented as a meta-element, the sequel explores the deranged mind of Martin (Laurence R. Harvey), a mentally challenged loner who has a Human Centipede fetish that eventually drives him to connect twelve people ass-to-mouth. Six’s script gives the sweaty, disgusting lead next to no character development, but Harvey – one of the two saving graces of this scatological debacle – gives a performance that defines the word “pervert,” never uttering a word during the ninety minute runtime but squealing and grunting enough to capture the essence of a slimy sexual deviant with a distorted perception of reality. The black and white aesthetic seemingly plays to that idea, capturing the contrast of realities between the two entries in an almost Wizard of Oz-like fashion but, to be blunt, that seems a little too complex for something like Full Sequence. Considering how juvenile and baseless the whole thing feels, its inclusion seems to have the sole purpose of being a punch line in a third act poop joke.
So much focus was given to conceptualizing gags that could potentially be looked upon as the sickest/grossest/most disturbing ideas ever captured on film that things within the universe – one which is supposed to be a more realistic approach to something that’s absolutely impossible – don’t add up. When Martin, who works as a security guard that spends night after night staring at recording camera feeds, begins murdering and kidnapping people that are trying to leave his parking garage (which is, for some reason, limited to one carful per night), an investigative third party never rears its head which leads to the conclusion that the victims don’t have family members that worry about them – or jobs – and London apparently has no police force, giving Martin absolutely no opposition.
The meta-approach is a great idea in concept, but Six drops the ball with Full Sequence. In an attempt to prime us for what will most likely be a crime against cinema when he takes the concept into God knows what direction the next time around, it offers up plenty of empty sequences involving feces eating, masturbating with various uncomfortably textured objects and unsanitary surgical procedures but can’t even be considered art. There’s no feeling, thought or emotion coursing through its veins; it’s just Six’s attempt to deliver on the hyperbole and accusations of grossness the first film promised but didn’t deliver. Now that he got that out of his system, he should go make a real movie.
IFC’s 1080p monochromatic transfer is quite strong, with high levels of detail – I still haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or not – and no noticeable DNR. Since it was originally shot in color, it’s not going to look the same as, say, the Casablanca Blu-ray – also, it’s not seventy years old or a significantly important film that a studio would dump a lot of money into – but the black-and-white look gives off a wide array of shades and shadows. And, boy, does that brown pop. Every bead of sweat of Martin’s sweat can be easily spotted, and even when things get super nasty, the transfer still manages to not make the special effects look too fake. The film plays more off of noises than dialogue, and the DTS-HD 5.1 track conveys that, with extra squishy noises and the like. The sound of Martin’s pet centipede is sure to creep a few people out, and, with the proper setup, you’ll feel like you’re right in the middle of the warehouse. In other words, the A/V treatment of the film is far better than it deserves.
Commentary – A track featuring director Tom Six and Martin himself, Laurence Harvey. Even though I don’t like the movie at all, they’re a blast to listen to. I interviewed both of them at Fantastic Fest last year and it was my favorite one that I did, just because they’re so open and candid – Laurence raped a chair during his audition – and you really get a sense of that during the track. It’s a good mix of what sort of black comedy and psychological bits they were going for, and technical stuff.
Interview With Tom Six (12:35) – With a camera shoved right in his face (EXTREME CLOSEUP!), director Tom Six talks about why he chose to make an untraditional sequel, presenting the film in black and white, the rape scene, the sense of humor he was trying to convey, and what we can expect from Human Centipede: Final Sequence.
Set Tour Of Warehouse (09:17) – Actress Ashlynn Yennie gives a brief tour around the warehouse where all the nasty stuff goes down, and then it’s mostly behind-the-scenes footage of prosthetics being applied, the setup for the baby scene, and, of course, the centipede assembly. I would recommend it to FX buffs, except there’s barely any talking in it and at no point do they even introduce any of the crew or actors verbally or with name cards.
Foley Sound Effects (03:07) – Geez, the crew really doesn’t want anyone to know who they are, do they? No names again. A bunch of guys recording exaggerated noises with the help of meat and soap for the warehouse scenes.
Making The Poster (02:18) – At least we get two first names here: Jeremy and, um, Jeremy. A look at the poster shoot, which was basically just a bunch of tied of naked people writhing around on the floor. In other words, it’s like a typical party at Tex Massacre’s house…
Deleted Scene (00:25) – Martin barking at a dog for twenty-five seconds.