Daily Archives: May 4, 2010



These thoughts were swirling in my head as I watched the final 45 minutes of The Human Centipede:  “You’ve got to be kidding me … What kind of career do these actors think they’ll have after appearing in this movie? … I can’t take my eyes off this thing … I used to think Cronenberg’s films were bizarre, but not after seeing this …  This must be why much of the Muslim world detests the decadent West … This movie is actually hypnotizing me, in a perverse sort of way ….”

I don’t know how better to describe the Dutch horror flick than by citing those random impressions.  It’s certainly not a film for everyone.  Some reviews imply that Centipede requires a viewer warning because it’s loaded with gore and violence.  Not true.  Although it does have some blood and guts, the film is disturbing because of the human degradation on display.  It’s a psychological freak show, at once repellent and absorbing.

Dieter Laser plays renowned German surgeon Dr. Heiter — surely one of the creepiest characters to grace movie screens in ages.  To say that Heiter is antisocial is like saying Hitler was a naughty boy.  Heiter kidnaps unwary tourists, takes them to his basement laboratory and, in a twist that elevates Centipede above other slasher flicks, treats his victims as combination students/patients, lecturing them as though they should be proud of participating in his groundbreaking “work.”  In this case, that means fusing their mouths to each other’s buttocks to form one long digestive chain or, as the title spells out, a human centipede.

That synopsis should tell you whether or not you can, sorry, stomach this movie.  The actual “centipede” effect is not shown in graphic detail — which somehow makes the proceedings even more horrifying.      Grade:  B+  (if you like this sort of thing)  Grade:  F   (if you don’t) 

Director:  Tom Six  Cast:  Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, Akihiro Kitamura, Andreas Leupold, Peter Blankenstein  Release:  2010


Centipede2  Centipede3

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Some movies beg for comparison to others, and the film that The Square most resembles is Body Heat.  Both dramas fall into the category of film noir, both feature illicit lovers doing very bad things, and both want nothing more than to ratchet up audience tension.

The Square mostly succeeds, but it falls short of Lawrence Kasdan’s 1981 classic for a number of reasons.  The Square doesn’t have two compelling characters, it has just one (the male lead).  And director Nash Edgerton’s film lacks something else found in Body Heat — a delicious twist ending.  It tries to compensate by jacking up the body count.

David Roberts plays everyman Ray Yale, a married construction foreman carrying on with Carla (Claire van der Boom), who is married to a small-time crook.  When Carla discovers her husband’s stash of stolen cash, she persuades Ray that the money is their ticket to paradise.

Ray reluctantly goes along with Carla’s plan, and of course their scheme rapidly goes from bad to worse.  Edgerton does a nice job building suspense, but The Square is handicapped by a script that has plenty of bodies, just not enough soul.    Grade:  B


Director:  Nash Edgerton  Cast:  David Roberts, Claire van der Boom, Joel Edgerton, Anthony Hayes, Peter Phelps, Bill Hunter, Hanna Mangan-Lawrence  Release:  2010


Square2  Square3

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