Film Review: The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) (2011)

"What the fuck!" - Nathan Dant

That's a quote from my good friend who accompanied me on my viewing of the sequel to 2009's The Human Centipede (First Sequence). Nathan is not easily stirred by many things...especially in film. He ended up walking out of the theater.

I'll say this right from the beginning. If you are easily disgusted by films of extreme may wanna skip this entry as writer/director Tom Six does his absolute best to throw just about every sick and twisted thing at you that can be shown on a public screen at almost rapid fire pace...especially during the third act. Nothing is sacred here. If the first film was a subtle shock...this one's as messy as it gets.

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is an interesting second chapter to the original film. Six doesn't follow the usual sequel recipe. Instead he opts for a self referential companion to the first premise.

Laurence R. Harvey plays the role of Martin as perfectly as Six envisioned for this film. He is not unlike a huge beetle of a man complete with bug eyes and a robust frame. It is implied that Martin has endured a lifetime of abuse from his just about every variety. Sexual, physical and emotional. He has been through it all. He lives with his mother who basically blames him for their pathetic existence and would like nothing more than to end Martin's life. There's a hilarious gag scene where she runs into his room stabbing his bed in the dark only to find that he was in the bathroom. Six relishes in dark humor and plays the entire film as one big satire to the first film. Or an account of the contrast between how his fans and critics view his first film.

Anyway, Martin is obsessed with The Human Centipede. He keeps a scrapbook of the film and handles the DVD with the meticulous care of a surgeon. It is his sole passion and he watches the film every opportunity he gets. Armed with his crowbar and hand gun, his ultimate goal is to create a human centipede of this own...comprised of 12 people instead of the original's three. Atleast Martin aims high.

I'm not entirely sure if Six's commentary on how the viewer is often not given any credit for individuality and usually is assumed to obsess over horror films and emulates everything he or she sees is a brilliant message or if he simply didn't know where to go from the first film and used the meta-sequel as a desperate attempt at original film making. Regardless, it was a smart move to base the HC2 in a meta-universe where the first film is the object of obsession and Martin plays the deviant literally, and figuratively, fucked by a depraved society. Hell...even Ashlynn Yennie shows up from the first film playing herself hoping to land a role in a Tarantino feature.

Aside from the obvious subject matter, the look of the film is gorgeous. It is shot entirely in black and white and masterfully directed with a self awareness. And although the HC2 is black and white every splatter...every disgusting image is particularly felt through very detailed sound effects. It almost seems worse than the whole thing being in color as it plays more to the suggestive mind's eye rather than coming off truly blatant. Which is kind of funny...because everything in the film is very blatant. The gore is felt in a more imaginative way when presented in black and white. If the film were ever released on an unrated DVD...all they would have to do is release it in color.

While the first film worked in a more subtle manner through the very controlled eyes of the great character of Dr. Heiter, this one plays through the eyes of the messy character of Martin, who is a cinematic presence all his own. This film is unlike any other film you may know and Tom Six is unlike any other director you may know...he is more interested in waiving his point in your face in such a blatant way that it forces his audience to shake their collective heads and realize that it's all just a movie and that may or may not determine how much you "like" a film like this.

The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is definitely not for the squeamish.

3.5 out of 5

Thanks for reading!