Sunday, July 31, 2011

Human Centipede

Look, I'm not made of stone, Netflix. If you keep telling me that there is a movie called Human Centipede that everyone seems to know about and has somehow gained sufficient cultural relevance to get a South Park episode of sorts then eventually I will goddamned watch it.

The first thing I noticed about Human Centipede is the way that natural dialogue, like what people say when they're just reacting to the real world and each other and making conversation, probably works best on film when the editing is quick enough to at least give it snappy timing. I reason that if you can't be interesting you can at least be brief. Conversely, you can take all the time in the world when the dialogue itself is clever or important in some way. Even silence can be useful if the audience has enough information to know how to interpret it or trusts the film to have a reason for it.

And hell, If you have witty dialogue and brisk timing, then I guess you're Quentin Tarantino directing Rosalind Russell. But if, god help you, you're pacing a mundane script to the languid metronome of two regular people talking about nothing for minutes on end, then you are making Human Centipede.

Fortunately, as I'm guessing most people already know, a couple of these characters end up not being able to talk before too long. As if to reward us for making it to the halfway point, the people who never say another word are the ones who were stumbling through what I hope were the ad-libbed opening scenes. We're then left with a guy who only speaks Japanese (actually, he mostly yells Japanese) and the mad doctor who soliloquizes often, at first to warn us about what we're about to see and then later to remind of us what he did.

Other than that, I don't really know what to say. Seeing this experiment come together elicited some disgust, mixed with relief that there would be some shutting up and the confusion of how this would actually work and why the doctor even assumed it would. I hesitate to grant any metaphorical significance to the actual human centipede beyond what horror movies in general can typically claim. As a freak show attraction on film, it delivers, I suppose and there is some suspense every now and then.

Honestly, I expected to see a lot more graphic stuff happening a lot more often, just to keep pace with Saw and others. Obviously, there is nothing pleasant about Centipede but neither does there really seem to be much to it at all besides the ostentatious premise. Unless someone takes ninety minutes to explain the central conceit of movie to you, you're probably better off hearing about it instead of actually watching it.

1 comment:

_J_ said...

This is what happens when the Dutch make torture porn.